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Blood Pressure Pill Linked to Hair Loss

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Q. I am a 39-year-old nurse who is experiencing drastic hair loss. I started taking atenolol for high blood pressure about four months ago. One month after starting the med I started slowly losing my hair.

I am sometimes afraid to brush my hair for fear that it will ALL come out. It comes out so easily. I worry about it every day, though I'm sure that the constant worry also contributes to even more hair loss.

I have asked the doctors that I work with, and their only advice is to start exercising and try to get off the atenolol altogether. I am going to take that advice because my biggest fear is losing my hair.

A. No wonder you worry. Losing a lot of hair is not a pleasant experience.

As you have concluded, atenolol is probably the culprit. What's more, there is considerable controversy about the effectiveness of atenolol for treating hypertension ( The Lancet, Nov. 6, 2004).

A surprising number of medications can cause hair loss as a side effect. We have listed many in the Guide to Hair and Nail Care we are sending you. We are also including our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment, with a number of scientifically supported non-drug approaches.

If diet, exercise and other natural approaches are not adequate for blood pressure control, there are other medicines for hypertension that may be less likely to cause hair loss.

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It seems very odd that someone is experiencing hair loss due to the use of Atenolol. This is a very old drug taken by millions of people for decades (including myself). I've never heard of such a side effect. Why do people, and your website, go out of your way to blame very safe and effective drugs for their problems?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Atenolol is indeed an old drug and one that is useful in treating heart attack patients. The information supplied by the manufacturer lists "reversible alopecia" (hair loss) as a reaction that has been reported. (Here's the link: http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?id=2216#nlm34084-4
No drug is either all bad or all good, but it makes sense for people to know both the benefits and risks of the medications they take.

How do you know it's as safe and effective as you think? No one is collecting any information on the effects of atenolol on hair loss. Maybe those "millions of people" you mention are being told their hair loss is from stress or low thyroid, or any number of other putative causes.

I experienced hair loss while taking metoprolol (also a beta blocker) for migraine prevention. I was losing 200 hairs at each brushing (I counted!!). I quit taking the beta blocker when I read the information supplied by the supplier that indicated "reversible alopecia" (hair loss) was a possible side effect. My hair loss subsided and am happy to report that my hair has completely regrown.

I know the worry caused by hair loss and hope that you will have the same positive experience that I did once you get off the atenolol.

My hair was coming out so fast, I immediately informed the dr. that I was going off of it. I'm now on Cozaar and b.p. is absolutely wonderful- no problems at all.

I have been taking Metoprolol for A Fib for a few years and for the past year I have been experiencing massive hair loss. I'm actually getting a bald spot on back of my crown. It's very aggravating - but - I don't want my a fib to return. Any suggestions?

I take Atenolol and have for over 10 years. Slowly I began losing my body hair, including my eye brows and lashes. After reading about this problem on People's Pharmacy I mentioned it to my heart doctor and she just shrugged (not believing).

Finally this past year when my head hair began failing out at an alarming rate I mentioned it to my GP and he suggested reducing my dosage to 1/2. I did so and within a short period of time my hair loss stopped and slowly I have began to get some body hair back. My BP has remained stable with the lower dosage.

I read the comments re hair loss from using Atenolol and wonder if that is the real reason for losing hair. I am 82 yrs. of age and have been on Atenolol for several years and have not lost hair because of it. Where else should I look besides the hairbrush, shower filter etc?? I would like to know other medications these folks may be taking.... diet is important also.

Would there be any vitamins that cause hair loss as well- I have read about and experienced hair loss with large doses of vitamin A.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: AT HIGH DOSES, VITAMIN A CAN CAUSE HAIR LOSS.

I, too, have been losing copious amounts of hair. I have bags of it because I started saving it. I have informed my doctor, but he sees no reason to become concerned. Though I am on blood pressure and cholesterol medication, I am not on the one mentioned. I am also on thyroid medication and have many of the symptoms connected with improper dosage--losing hair, cracked splitting nails, etc.

I still cannot get my doctor to pay attention to what I am telling him or have shown him. I have cut the frequency of taking it. Maybe I need to stop taking it altogether. Years ago (1959) when I was prescribed thyroid medication I was started on dessicated thyroid. Doctors changed it to Synthroid because it was easier for them. They did not have to test and adjust the dosage. I hope I am not bald before I can get something done. I am losing that much hair. I have hair on my body where I shouldn't and where I should it is falling out or won't grow.

The Atenolol can cause Alopecia Areata (Spot Balding) and she can just ask her doctor to switch to another medication in the same group as the one she's taking until he finds one without that side effect. I was once put on a medication that had the ingredient in it hydrochlorothiazide (Hyzaar) which was a combination medication for HBP. The same company had another drug (Cozaar) that was not combination and was without the hydrochlorothiazide and once I was started on that one my hair stopped falling out almost immediately.

Atenolol has listed as one of the side effects of taking that medication is Alopecia Areata (Spot Balding) and that statement is listed on the manufacturers web site.

Most groups of medications have many different brands that one can choose from if one brand doesn't work then another one will, you and your doctor just have to be patient until the two of you find the right one that works for you. The 39-year-old nurse can start taking a vitamin specially formulated for the hair and start using Polysorbate 80 on her scalp 10 min before shampooing after her doctor switches her medication to one that doesn't have that side effect.

I had the same problem, but didn't realize it was the atenolol. My doctor suggested I take selenium supplements, and it worked. It took a couple of months to notice fuzziness coming in, but I've been taking it for a bit more than a year now, and my hair has grown back to its original thickness.

I took atenolol and experienced gradual hair loss, then fatigue and depression. When I started losing eye lashes I felt there was something amiss. I consulted with my physician and will find another way to treat high blood pressure.

Dolores, you most definitely need a second doctors opinion. Sometimes we get so placated with doctors we've been with for years but if a doctor ignore your concerns it's time to check out another especially if you have shown him proof that your hair is falling out!

There are hundreds if not thousands of Blood Pressure medications on the market and your doctor should try and find one that doesn't have the side effects of the one you're on, if he doesn't he's lazy because some times it can be a long drawn out process, and for him to ignore your concerns say to me that he doesn't value your opinions and that should not be tolerated.

You don't have to tell him you're going for a second opinion just do it. Older doctors sometimes tend to get a bit agitated when patients ask them questions they can't answer or they're to lazy to research it. Never put all of your trust in one doctor!

And to add to your comment to David H., you might be one of many who take this medication (Atenolol) without any side effects, medications have a different effect on different people. Many medical conditions have the same symptoms and only can they be detected by your doctor running test to distinguish the differences.

My husband took atenol for several years and wondered why his fingers were always cold and numb, even in the summer. He decided to stop atenol and the symptoms gradually disappeared. PS: He was already "hair deprived!"

In July, my doctor started me on 12 mg of hydrochlorothyazide for blood pressure. In November she titrated it to 25mg daily. My hair used to be wavy, shiny and very healthy. All of a sudden, it is dull, lost it's wave and thinning! It started about two months into the higher 25mg dose. I had no idea that the drug caused hair loss.

My question is, is the loss reversible and, if so, how long will it take to grow back after stopping the med? Also, is there anything I should do including taking vitamins (which ones?) to help with the regrowth? I am absolutely devastated and intend to call my doctor on Monday to change my script.

I see with interest comments on hair loss and Atenolol. I HAD such a thick amount of hair but started loosing it at an alarming rate. Doctor didn't know why so I went to a specialist in Boston but got no more information. This was years ago and I still lose more hair than normal although, no bald spots and some grows in while still losing. Any comments/suggestions for me? I'm now in my mid 70s and this has been on-going for at least 20+ years. Do I ask new doctor (previous retired) for a change in medication for b/p? TIA!

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: ASKING ABOUT A POSSIBLE CHANGE OF BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE, ONE LESS LIKELY TO CAUSE HAIR LOSS, IS CERTAINLY REASONABLE.

I am experiencing severe hair loss--almost bald in back of head now. I am a lady 71 yrs of age, I have taken atenolol 25 mgs for several years. Last year my Dr. put me on double atenolol 50 mgs per day. Almost immediately after going on 50 mgs My hair started falling out and I started having severe sinus problems for which I am on my third anti-biotic to treat.

I have constant coughing with the atenolol. My son and daughter both had to go off the atenolol because of coughing and being so cold always. I am going to talk to my heart Dr. to see if he will take me off the atenolol.

I am 39 yrs old, I have been taking Atenolol 50mg for 14yrs. I have been losing my hair slowly ever since. Told the doctor, she just shrugged it off. Well it is at a point now where it is visible, I can feel myself getting depressed, and it sucks. This to me is so terrible, never ever thought I would have hair loss, because my hair was so thick. I think I am going to try to get off the prescription myself slowly. I cant take losing any more hair. I don't know what else to do?

Thank you Amy for quelling some of my fears about hair loss while taking propranolol! I am too afraid of counting how many hairs I lose on a daily basis but I would guess it is pretty much close to 200! I have been off Prop for about 3 weeks now. How long before you noticed your hair stopped falling out?
Cathy

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: BE SURE TO TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT THIS. STOPPING A BETA-BLOCKER LIKE PROPRANOLOL REQUIRES MEDICAL SUPERVISION.

David,
You have been blessed if you have not had the hair loss problem on Atenolol. I and my aunt have not been as blessed. I have been having drastic loss since around 08 and no one, Dr nor Dermatologist, could tell me why. I had everything checked. I finally did research online myself and found a forum about Atenolol, where many described the same hair loss pattern as myself (from middle to all over the left-side of my head).

I saw my aunt this past weekend and I could see her scalp from middle of her head to left side and asked if she was taking Atenolol and of course she was. I told her to speak with her Dr about changing the drug. I am still curious as to why mostly the left side. I can only guess because the heart is more to left than right. Dear if it walks and quacks like a duck...then it's a duck.

Peoples Pharmacy....LOVE THE BOOK!!! If you don't have it get. I would like to get the new edition as I have had mine for yrs since while living in Raleigh,NC.

I've been taking Benicar 40 mg/12.5 HCT for a few years; no hair loss problems. Started taking Atenelol 25 mg this past January (about 5 months ago) and for the past few months I've noticed a great deal of hair loss, especially when I wash or brush my hair. And it's not breaking off from color, it's coming directly from the root! I'm wondering if it is the combination of the two medications, or simply the Atenelol? Any suggestions as to another beta blocker that does not have "reversible alopecia?" Thanks

I've had the same problems as all the rest of the people above, hair loss due to high blood pressure pills. I take both Accupril and Toprol XL. I noticed a significant amount of hair loss. I mentioned it to my doctor who said try Rogaine. It is now so bad that it's getting very embarrassing. I'm a 52 year old woman. I used to have such thick hair, it was even thick and full after I turned gray. I am hoping when I see him tomorrow that he will change my medication.

Today I went to my Dr. and he has placed me back on my blood pressure pills. I can't remember the brand that I once was on two years ago before taking myself off the medications do to hair loss and the thickness was no longer there. This is not much help they were small and yellow.

I have concerns for the medication he has prescribed for me today which is AMLODIPINE. This is more of a calicum blocker. Should I worry for my hair? I did make him aware of my concerns of why I relieved myself from the medication two years ago and this medication is suppose to be better in my satisfaction of no hair loss. Should I worry? Is their anyone who is taking or has taken this medication and has had no disappointments in it?

All I can say is, if a doctor shrugged me off that would be the last time that would happen to me. First I would go and find me another doctor and then drop the one who shrugged me, too many doctors stereotype their patients and that is wrong. All elderly people aren't suffering from the same thing and shouldn't be medicated according to their ages. My mother had a doctor who put all of his elderly patients pretty much on the same medical regimen, Antidepressants, diuretics and sleeping pills in all he had her on seven different medications.

I changed my mother's doctor and the first thing he did was cut her medications from seven to three, one of which was more of a supplement than a medication which was potassium because diuretics tend to deplete your body of potassium. If you are afraid (which a patient should never feel) to talk to your doctor, then you have the wrong doctor because you should be or at least feel comfortable speaking with your doctor. Many of the people here are speaking about losing their hair, feeling tired and depressed.

I suggest that you ask your doctor about your thyroid and adrenals. Many older as well as some younger people have problems with absorbing nutritional substances into their body and therefore their doctor can have test run in order to find out if there's something else going on other than their medication, but there are medications that deplete your body of certain nutrients and they must be replenished through supplements such as Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids. If a doctor isn't loyal to you then you shouldn't feel the need to be loyal to the doctor, medicine is a two-way street!

I recently had my bp medications increased from just Propranolol 60 mg to it plus, Tekturna 300mg, Diovan HCT 320mg/12.5mg and Bystolic. While hospitalized for knee replacement surgery and recuperation in a nursing facility, my hair became extremely course, and started coming out in copious amounts. When I returned home and was finally able to go to my beautician, she commented (without me having said a word about it) that the texture of my hair seemed much more course and that it seemed thinner.

I believe it was a combination of the BP meds, the way they were given to me in the nursing facility along with the other medications that were given during and following surgery.

I see my physician tomorrow and plan to discuss this with her.

Good luck to everyone.

Amy,

How long did it take for your hair to return after stopping the Beta Blocker? I, too, am experiencing extreme hair loss and I am hoping it is from my beta blocker. I stopped taking it about 4 weeks ago, but haven't noticed any changes.

Thanks!

It took approximately 7 months before I started seeing regrowth in the bald spots after I stopped using a Beta Blocker. I used both Metoprolol and Atenolol.

I used the Atenolol first and I got severe thinning. It wasn't until I started using the Metoprolol that I started getting bald spots.

Not all people are affected by drugs the same way. That's why there are "possible" side-effects. I'm on a very low dose of Atenolol, but I had bronchospasms, very cold feet and hands, and am now losing a lot of hair. Obviously, I am sensitive to it.

I had coughing and a racing heart on the Atenolol and my doctor said it wasn't the drugs!

Please tell how long it took to regrow your hair after stopping the medication. People are asking this question over and over again in desperation. Thank you.

I started taking Atenolol in late January and by March/April I started noticing large amounts of hair coming out when I washed and/or brushed it. Did research, put two and two together and weaned myself off of the drug with doctor's approval. When I started weaning off Atenolol, I started taking Biotin 1,000 mcg three times a day with food. I think the maximum is 5,000 mcg per day.

You can take 1 5,000 mcg tablet once or split it up. Taking 5,000 mcg made my heart race a bit, so I cut down the amount. With being off the Atenolol and the Biotin my hair has finally stopped falling out. I'd say it took at least 3 months to completely stop. Don't let anyone tell you it's not the Atenolol if you're having hair loss.

I had taken Inderal LA for approximately 20 years (brand name for propranolol). I was switched to atenolol because of the "cheap" price for my insurance company. That was when I started to see hair thinning. My pharmacist assured me atenolol is the culprit drug! The doctor says no way. I changed doctors. Pharmacist advised if I need to continue the atenolol, and I do, to take biotin supplements with it. I have beautiful hair but vanity will not cause me to lose my life! I have tried many other bp meds but have problems with others that I can't deal with. Do as you must and may God bless us all.

Luckily for me I could stop the Atenolol safely as I was taking another medication for blood pressure and the Atenolol was supposed to be short-term anyway. Certainly stopping any medication is a decision that must be taken seriously between you and your doctor and only if it will not affect your well-being in any way. I hope that taking Biotin along with the Atenolol will help you with your hair loss.

I have been taking atenolol in gradually increasing doses for 18 years for AFib. Due to a recent surgery that corrected the AFib, I have slowly weaned from the atenolol, and I have been completely off for about 3 weeks. In the last month, I started losing a large amount of hair, and my hairdresser just commented how much is shedding. There was never any excessive loss while I was taking it. I see my cardiologist on Monday, and I'm looking forward to his answer.

I started taking Atenolol about 10 years ago. Immediately my hair started to fall out. I changed medications so many times and it's still falling out. Now I am getting bald spots (Alopecia). Doctors tell me it's stress, hairdressers tell me it's stress plus blood pressure pills. Then other doctors tell me NO it's not... now we're talking autoimmune disease.
I wish someone would know what they are talking about.

Any reports of association of hair loss and ACE inhibitors or Calcium Channel blockers?

My hair fell out so badly using metoprolol, I wanted to cry, for a whole year I was telling my doctor my hair was falling out and felt like it was burning. He said he never heard of hair falling out because of metoprolol. He now put me on Atenolol. I feel better but afraid I will continue to loose my hair.

My hair continue to fall out taking Atenolol. I looked a at a list of high blood pressure meds and almost all cause hair loss.

I think they all cause loss of hair... This is the 5th or 6th different one I am on now, and the hair loss is still getting worse... all the doctors say no the pills aren't causing this, and all my hairdressers say yes. I have tried all kinds of things to restore growth and nothing works, and wigs cost as little as $2,000 each and that's for a cheap human hair wig...

At the age of 43 in Jan 2005 after having a hysterectomy, immediately I started having what I would call 'a spell' which meant my heart racing so fast I could feel it thru my whole body making it shake in rhythm with my heart. Along with the spell I would become very light headed, sweating profusely, vision out of focus and very dizzy to the point of passing out.

I could not do anything at that time, but sit and wait the spell out. The spells would last anywhere from 5 minutes to 8 hours. This would happen anytime, whether I was asleep, at work, standing or going for a simple stroll. Just for no particular reason at all. Up until the surgery, I still played in women and men co-ed softball league 2 days a week plus a day a week practices. Had been since I was 12 (playing softball). Up until that surgery I was very healthy.

I have not touched a ball or glove since. Could not even go for walks without the spell popping up. In a year I gained 45 lbs. I went to my OBGYN to find out what was going on with my heart. She had recommended the hysterectomy. She had me on a heart monitor for 24 hrs. No results- a 30 day monitor. Still no answers. I know she thought I was a hypochondriac. I went to her office just paying on my bill.

I had a spell and they would not even take my pulse til I gave them my credit card. I cussed everyone out in that office and told them they were not getting another red cent from me ever again. Needless to say I found another physician and tests were done. My worry was my heart was becoming enlarged due to this activity. But my heart was fine. So I did some research on my own and found that my potassium level was low.

I bought potassium supplements and have been fine every since but have HBP now. First medication prescribed was a combination I don't recall-unknown BP and HCTZ 50mg. Within 3 months I had a quarter sized bald spot on my right side near my ear. That spread to my upper right backside of the head causing a total loss of 1/4 of hair loss from my head. I have very thick hair and was very lucky I could cover it up just wearing a ponytail all the time.

I did not realize it was the medication until talking to a women I worked with. She had this great selection of Tina Turner wigs. She told me the reason for her hairloss was due to her taking medication that was necessary for her to live. It was either the wigs or her life. Ding! A bell went off my medication was my hairloss problem.

Immediately I stopped taking it. I called my doctor and made a appointment. She told me that was not the reason for my hairloss and scolded me for not taking my medication. She did change my medication to... Atenolol 50mg and HCTZ 25mg. There was immediately noticeable hairloss which switched to the left side top part of my head. I quit taking Atenolol after one month. It toke about 6 months for fuzz to come in. A year for total re-growth.

I tried herbal supplements, but was not faithful. I've been having headaches up until about a month ago when I could no longer get any blood pressure readings at home. Kept saying error. So I went to the emergency room in March 2011 Splitting headache plus I've been feeling bad for last 6 months. (kidneys feeling bad ever morning when I woke up). Blood pressure 206/110. Immediately put into a bed, given a medication to bring it down. Was there over 8 hrs. before I could go home.

Scolded by the er nurse and physician about not taking medications. Asked me if I wanted my hair or my life. "I said I want them both" I was put back on the Atenolol and HCTZ same dosage. I have been cutting dosage in half until I see my physician to change these medications. Currently blood pressure is under control with me cutting dosage. No noticeable hairloss yet....

I am 70 years old and have been taking 50mg of atenolol for several years. My hair comes out in handfuls every time I wash it and hairs fall onto my clothes constantly. I have been taking vegetal silica and using nioxin on my hair to no avail. Having read the above comments, I will ask my doctor to change my medication. I do appreciate this forum.

Very helpful comments from everyone.
I too, have been on Atenelol for a couple of years, I now can understand the severe hair loss I am experiencing, indeed, disturbing. Hair is so important to all of us, men and women, depressing to see it fall out. Will try to change meds too. Thanks again.

Update For A.C.
My physician changed medication from Atenolol 50 mg on May 16th 2011 to Diltiazem HCL 120 mg (Cardia). No more hair loss!!!!! BP is normal. No side affects from this medication for me. I explained to her why I needed the change do to my hair loss. She did not believe me and even looked on the internet. I just asked her to not prescribe any beta blocker for my HP. She did not debate the issue.

I started taking atenolol back in February 2011. I noticed that my hair began to fall out rapidly after 6 weeks on 50mg. I started taking pictures and over the next few months the sport became bigger and bigger. One day while getting my hair "fixed" as not to show the large bald spot on my crown in public, my hairstylist told me of others who have complained about this.

As a 24 yo male it came down to two things: male pattern baldness or the pill. This was the only new med I was put on and other then this I took 3 pills, claritin, hydroxyzine and buspar. I had my hormones checked and did not have anything out of whack. As of mid-June I have stopped taking the BP pill and will wait to see of hair grows back.

Research has told me that it can take up to 4-6 months for you to notice hair growth again. I talked to my doctor and she told me there is a pill that has an antigen to counter act it and if there is no hair growth in the next few months she will put me on it.

FYI for people who say this medicine is so fabulous and that it has always worked yada yada.... as a soon to be pharmacist I can tell you that some (if not most) prescriptions are not made the same as they used to be. Synthetic materials and drugs to make them cheaper, are used a lot in medicines these days. The world is expensive to live in but the people on it are cheap when making things.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE DON'T ADVOCATE STOPPING A BLOOD PRESSURE PILL WITHOUT MEDICAL SUPERVISION. WE DO SUGGEST BRINGING THIS SIDE EFFECT TO THE DOCTOR'S ATTENTION AND WORKING WITH HER/HIM TO FIND A WAY TO CONTROL BLOOD PRESSURE WITHOUT HAIR LOSS. THIS WILL PROBABLY DIFFER FROM ONE PERSON TO THE NEXT.

I just quit taking Alenolol last week. My hair was so thick I could hardly get a brush through it and now I see scalp on top of my head. I also have anxiety problems and this is making me a nervous wreck. Could someone reassure me that this might help me. I would rather die than go bald. I was on the atenolol for about five years. I still take other BP meds.

Thanks

How long had you been taking the Atenolol? I stopped taking it just last week, hope I see quick results like you.

The doctor I go to now is not the one that prescribed the med. She said that Atenolol was a bad drug, too many side effects.

Hi Jackie,
I quit taking the atenolol on my own without going to my Dr. Bad decision. I could have had a stroke cause I was in that range. Any way it took at least 6 months for fuzz to grow in. After that it was back before I knew it. Still not as thick but no bald spots anymore. Been on current medication since 5/2011. No hair loss side effects. Ask your Dr. to prescribe other HBP meds. or than Beta Blockers!

AC

thanks for the response. I hope I see results within six months also.

May I ask what other medications you take?

Just the Diltiazem HCL 120 mg (Cardia). I meant to say above, Ask your doctor about other HBP medications other than Beta Blockers! You should see results, Good Luck!

Thanks for taking time to respond.

I was incarcerated in prison for 8 months and put on atenolol unwillingly. I did not take any meds before I went in. After I came out on 29/3 my hair was balding badly. I am 24 this year. Been searching the net until I found out it was this lousy profit earning med that was causing this problem. It's been almost 6 months and my hairfall seems to be worse than ever. I stopped taking it after I was released. Can someone please tell me how to save my hair? can it be reversed? If it does not do so naturally? Am I destined to be bald ?

I'm going to guess not everyone has the same reaction. I've noticed when I comb my hair clumps of hair. I have no family history hair loss, and during a point where I was off atenonol for about a month my hair started to grow back. So I definitely think it's linked to hair loss.

hey ami,
I was also taking metropproplal for around 2 years & it has caused big hairfall of mine.
now I have stopped taking it, but still hairfall is there. It's magnitude is reduced but still hairloss is there. what in your case your all hairs came back? and how much time it has taken to regrow? what shall i do for my regrowth?

Regards,

Ank

I started drastically losing my hair soon after starting on atenolol. My doctor was very reluctant to take me off of it since it was working so well in lowering my blood pressure. BUT, there are over 200 meds to take for High Blood pressure, so, don't let your doctor keep you on any one medication if you are experiencing side effects that bother you! Hair loss from atenolol IS reversible.

My hair completely grew back in in less then 6 months. It's taken me a few years, and several times I've had to switch meds, to find the ones that work best for me WITHOUT side effects.

I'm 20 years old and have taken Atenolol 50mg since I was 15.
I used to take a smaller dosage (25mg) but my doctor decided to raise it. I have high blood pressure and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. I use the atenolol to support both cases and have worked surprisingly well. The only downside to this medication is that I too have suffered from hair loss.

Before they raised my dosage, I used to have thicker hair. I thought my hair was getting finer because of the fact that I dyed it every so often (which was also a contributing factor to my hair loss) but my hair was falling out more than usual. I did some research though the Internet, library, & asked my doctor if hair loss was a common side effect of this med. Unfortunately he said yes.

I cannot stop taking this medication because it is what's keeping me going each day, but I would love to stop this constant hair loss each time I comb my hair and shower. I've heard biotin and Hair, Skin, & Nail vitamins promote better hair but I'm not too sure if it is safe enough for me to take them when I take the atenolol. I also forgot to mention that I take birth control (Aleese) which also contributed to my hair loss.

Please someone help me and give me advice if you can relate.

What medication did you start taking after the atenelol?

The only medications that my doctors have given me in addition to the Atenolol
is the Aleese that I mentioned above.

I have taken Atenolol 25mg since 2009 for Neurocardiogenic Syncope. It has given me my life back in every way. However, I have noticed in the last few months a lot of hair loss. I am not sure if this is the only reason. It might also be from being mildly hypothryroid. I asked my MD to switch to Diltiazem 120mg. It's not as effective and I don't like the side effects, but am trying to see if my hair improves and thickens. I guess I have to wait 6 months to see a difference? Hope I can make it that long. Thank you all!!!

I was given Atenolol 50mg for a migraine that lasted over a month.
A few months after stopping the medication, I noticed a bald patch in my beard.
I now have Alopecia Areata in a diffused pattern that's making it's way to my scalp with no signs of slowing down. No one else in my family has this disease, nor has anyone in my family have any kind of autoimmune illness.
Considering the coincides, and my gut feeling, I believe Atenolol was the cause of it.

I' ve been on propranolol given to me by a neurologist for migraines since March and my hair has been falling out since the end of April. I had thick healthy hair and now its thinner and has a weird feel to it. My eyebrows are patchy as well. The doctors don't say it's the propranolol but after reading this I am convinced it is.

I've had blood tests done and everything came out fine. My hair wasn't falling out before March so it's pretty obvious it's the drug! A few years ago I took metroprpolol and I lost my eyelashes.

I am weaning myself of of 4-40mg a day down slowly so I will be off of them soon. It's so frustrating having your doctor not tell you the truth about a drug. He wants me to go to a dermatologist so they can tell me what's wrong since he cant't and I can't get into her until Oct! Its not considered an urgent issue!

I should be bald by then I said. After reading all the comments I am going with my intuition and will stop taking this medicine. I really hope it grows back:(

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Do discuss this with your MD. It is never a good idea to stop a beta blocker like propranolol or metoprolol suddenly. You will also need something else to prevent the migraines. You may want to check our our guide to Headaches and Migraines for some other options that you can discuss with your doctor.

https://store.peoplespharmacy.com/guides/headaches-and-migraines.html

I too have been on the beta blocker metoprolol for about 4 months and have noticed that my hair is thinning and falling out. I am also on lisinopril. I see my Dr. this week and will tell him to take me off the metoprolol. I am so happy to hear that the hair grows back once you were off this medication. I still hope that maybe I can lower by BP without these meds which cause so many other problems.

I too had major hair loss which was caused by my high blood pressure meds. I took 25mg of Hydrochlorothiazide for two years and my once thick shoulder length hair began coming out in my hands when I touched my hair. My hair was also dry and brittle and was growing at a VERY slow rate and had stopped growing completely in some areas

After test for Thyroid, low iron and hormones all come back fine, I stopped taking my meds and started taking Biotin.

Yes. Biotin DOES work (at least for me). I started taking Biotin daily w/a multi vitiam and my hair has started to grow again and it was no longer dry and brittle. I had normal had loss b/c not excessive like when I was on the medication.

I started re-taking my blood pressure meds and the excessive hair loss started again. I also continued to take Biotin and a multi vitiam, but it did NOT counter the hair loss caused by my med. I am now 100% certain that it is my medication that caused the loss of my thick hair. I am now on 20mg of Lisinopril and so far no hair loss problem.

I also was taking metoprolol and losing my hair. I lost 28 pounds, blood pressure went down, I stopped taking my metoprolol, and seven months later I started growing my hair back!!!! It sure makes me HAPPY!!

Hi
Discuss your hair loss symptoms with your doctor. The extent to which your hair falls out due to medication will depend on your genetics, and the strands will often come out in patches that resemble patterned balding. Your doctor will take a medical history from you and conduct a series of tests such as the hair pull test, a scalp biopsy and a blood test to determine the cause of your hair loss. If your medication is making your hair fall out, your physician may switch your medications or alter your dosage, if possible.

This was an excellent article. It has some valuable content on this topic. Thank you for compiling it into an easy to read and well written post.

Thank you

Yikes! Do some of you not realize that having a stroke or heart attack can leave you brain damaged or paralyzed or unable to care for yourself? Alive but unable to walk or speak or maybe even swallow your food?

Stopping blood pressure medications is dangerous! Do your best to lose weight, walk a lot, eat vegetables and maybe eventually you can lower your blood pressure without medication. Ace inhibitors like lisinopril can cause coughing, life threatening angioedema of the throat and even pancreatitis.

Beta blockers cause fatigue and hair loss. I would rather pay for a wig than a nursing home bed, I'll keep taking my beta blocker every day and be thankful that hair loss is the only side effect. Sure beats dying young with a full head of hair.

Hair loss is a big deal. I started taking Inderal for POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)and after approximately one month my once thick hair that had a lot of body started coming out so much I hated to brush my hair, cook (because my hair would fall out into the food,) etc. I looked like a scarecrow without enough stuffing under their hat. I mentioned it to my family doctor and as pretty much all the other posts state, he just shrugged his shoulders and told me baldness most likely ran in my family (all my relatives still have their hair) and I was pretty young to be losing mine - geesh! He also told me not to worry about it - good plan doc!

On my own, I started taking 200 mcg of selenium and within a very short period of time my hair started thickening up to the point that once again I have to have it thinned when I get my hair styled. Don't give up looking for a solution and don't accept pat answers from the medical community. Also, would not listen to these folks who say things like I've taken it for 10 years without a problem, ergo there is no problem with beta blockers.

All people don't react the same to all medications. I don't have a reaction to penicillin, but that doesn't mean others don't get very severe reactions. We as patients need to take ownership of our own health and if you aren't getting the right answers, go somewhere else and find someone who will listen. Don't just sit there and cry as your hair is falling out on the sofa.

thesubo1. Your comment was both kind and informative. I totally agreed with you that we need to take ownership of our own health. All doctors are not equal in their concern and knowledge. There is nothing wrong with doing your own research and/or getting a second, 3rd or even 4th medical opinion.

Totally agree with your comment. Especially the last paragraph!

please tell me how can I stop hairloss?
really frustrated. shall I go to hair expert?
I am loosing 100 hairs everyday. I was on metoprolol.

Amy.. i am a 23 year old female who was taking meteopolol.. i stopped taking it two month ago and im still lossing my hair :-(:-( how long did it takw you to stop losing and regrow after you stopped taking it?

I have been on Altenelol for a little over ten years. Only the last two have I noticed hair loss ! Now this past year at an alarming rate.. Hopefully a change in B/P meds will stop the hair loss. I had very thick hair so took awhile to notice.. now it is thin..and I am bummed. I appreciate these comments as I'm not the only one..and sounds reversible... thank you much..

I have been on Altenelol for a little over ten years. Only the last two have I noticed hair loss ! Now this past year at an alarming rate.. Hopefully a change in B/P meds will stop the hair loss.

I had very thick hair so took awhile to notice.. now it is thin..and I am bummed. I appreciate these comments as I'm not the only one..and sounds reversible... thank you much..

I took atenolol for 2 months 25mg a day, and after about two weeks I started noticing my hair looked a lot thinner and that it was falling out whenever I ran my hands through it. I used to have fairly thick hair, but now you can see my scalp. The hair loss was dramatic, and since the only thing I had changed in my daily routine was taking atenolol, I know, like many of you, that atenolol was the culprit.

I stopped taking it cold turkey about 3 weeks ago (I know it's not recommended, but the hair loss was so bad, and didn't realize the side effects could potentially lead to heart attack)... anyway, after 3 weeks of not taking it, my hair continues to shed excessively when I run my hands through it or brush it. It also has a weird texture to it now like others have mentioned in previous posts.

I was wondering if anyone knew how long it takes before the shedding stops and starts to grow back.


Thanks for any help.

I have been on Atenolol 25 mg for 15 years. I had suddenly developed ventricular tachycardia, had an ablation which didn't take and 3 weeks later had it done again. As the doctor was removing the instrument, he "nicked" my heart and I almost died on the operating table. To help my heart with healing, he put me on the atenolol temporarily for a month, but afterwards, I was so terrified that the VT would return, I was afraid to stop taking it.

Since it was such a small dose and since I recognized that it was more psychological than medical, the doctor said I could safely stay on it. It was definitely not hurting me and of course, was giving my heart extra support. All was well until about a year ago when my hair suddenly started becoming more and more sparse all around my hairline, right back to behind my ears!

My family doctor said it alopecia and sent me to the dermatologist who said it was caused by stress or possibly something internal. I went to my heart doctor who said it was probably a family trait (not so as everyone in my family has THICK, wavy hair, like I used to have). I asked to be put on another med and he said I had to stay on the atenolol since I had been on it for so many years and that it definitely was not the culprit.

He also said "do you realize how many women your age would be thrilled to have as much hair as you have now?" (I'm 75 and a newlywed-far from an old bald lady.) I went to the allergist and was tested for all kinds of contact dermatitis; everything was negative and he said it was alopecia. I went to my endo doctor who tested my TSH levels and all is well. She hasn't a clue what it is either. Overall, I feel great except that I have trouble sleeping. All blood tests, etc. are in line right where they should be.

So my question is, since I don't really have HBP what meds are available similar to atenolol? Also, at times, my scalp just itches and itches with no known cause from any of the above doctors. And in the last two months, my nails just break off and will not grow. I have been taking (doctor prescribed) 5000 mgs of Biotin and 2000 Vitamin D, along with my Centrum Silver. I exercise at the Y, work part-time and eat healthy stuff, none of which helps. So, it's got to be the Atenolol!!!!!

I did not notice anyone mentioning an itchy scalp or nail problems.

Been on atenolol for 13 to 14 years. I am almost bald headed. It's driving me crazy, it started in spots, then it started breaking, then it stopped growing completely!!! Imagine that. I didn't know your hair could just stop growing and then it donned on me that it was the medication(s) I was taking that had taken my Glory from me. I am 1 of 4 sisters and I was always the one with thick, long healthy hair. Now I am the one who is bald, but am the only one taking atenolol also.

I stopped taking atenolol 2 weeks ago, I know I shouldn't, but I have to try something. My doctor did tests, everything is fine. I went to a dermatologist he did a biopsy and nothing! So it must be the drugs just like everyone else is saying, but I digress, as I was saying I stopped taking it 2 weeks ago and now my hair is falling out even faster than before. So now I'm taking biotin, vitamin B12, folic acid and iron tablets. hopefully I won't be sick in the next week, but I'm headed there quick, fast and in a hurry. I have to laugh to keep from crying. Can somebody help, help me please!!!!!

I need some answer in helping my hair grow back for taking blood pressure pills.

Why did you stop the Biotin, was it a culprit? Did the Dr. tell you not to use it? I take 3,000mg a day and have had hair loss since Nov 2012.. I am blaming it on several meds. I am taking, but not sure which it is.. :(

Is there a another name for atenolol, or other drugs like it??

I have had high blood pressure for about a year, was put on atenolol, and within a month my beard got oval bald patches, mostly around my chin and mouth, lips. Docs office said they can't find anything about hair loss in the listed side effects, I did about 5 minutes of research and found hundreds of complaints. I also found listed in the less common/rare side effects, "may cause sudden death," yes, sudden death. Some people have reactions, and of course we are going to voice our concerns, we are the ones who are suffering from taking these "safe" medicines. I can't wait to get off this medicine, and hopefully get my facial hair back

I am 49 years old, attractive female, 20 pounds overweight and come from a family of thick hair. I have been taking 25 mg of atenolol for the past 3 years now. I started off with long thick hair, strong finger nails and normal facial skin. For the past year I started realizing that my hair was thinning quickly and I could see my scalp in several areas. My hair feels like mush when I wash it and I have ridges on my nails. My facial skin feels thick and aged. My body itches all the time and I no longer sleep well.

I thought it was menopause. But when I think back now, I remember tons of hair on the ground from the beginning and my nails getting weird right off the bat. I just never considered that such a tiny pill held such power of my body.

I chopped off half of my hair and went back to wearing bangs to see if maybe the hair just needed a break, it did seem to help a little bit. I changed shampoos, hair dye, got a new brush and started taking vitamins.

I started taking bioton about 2 months ago and amped it up to 5000 mg, not sure if its working for the hair but I see an improvement with my fingernails and since I noticed the fingernails aging first, I am hoping the hair will jump on board too.

After reading all of your very similar and informative info, I realized that I am going to have to go all the way with this. A complete life change. I think its time to take charge of my body again. I simply just have been too decadent with my eating, and drinking and yes smoking cigs. I am going to wean off the atenolol within the next 2 weeks and join a gym tomorrow.

I'm going to stop drinking alcohol and quit smoking... These are all my favorite bad habits of a lifetime, also the reason I am taking atenolol. I think its the only correct way for me personally... It's the same as putting sugar in a gas tank and wondering why the car won't work anymore.

It's not going to be easy I realize, but the alternative is just too horrific to consider.. I guess my vanity is going to win on this one.. There is no other pill to take. This last pill has aged the crap out of me. It's honestly aged me more than cigarettes, bad eating and drinking habits all put together.. Wish me luck, I just simply refuse to go bald. And how ridiculous am I that I talk about exercise, eating right and stopping smoking a bad thing....

I am very thankful to have come across this and related sites regarding hair loss and beta-blockers. I am a 47 year old female who had very thick red wavy/curly hair. I mean super thick; to the point hairstylists would repeatedly comment on it. In the past it has not been too unusal to "shed" my hair kind of on a seasonal basis. (Usually the Spring).

But, in the past 1-2 months I have noticed a tremendous amount of hair loss to the point where it is obviously thinning and has be concerned with balding as I can now see my scalp around my temples when pulled into a pony tail. Unlike many here who have taken atenolol, I have been on a low dosage of propranalol for almost a year. They are both beta-blockers but the latter has been around longer.

I have been trying to figure out what I have done different in my diet or lifestyle, etc. Actually I have been working out for a few months and eating right, so I couldn't imagine these two things having a negative impact.

Since propranalol is the only medication I am on which for me it is for high BP, I figured I'd google beta-blockers and alopecia; propranalol and hair loss and anything related. I was stunned to find a ridiculous number of similar accounts. I stopped taking my medication earlier this week and it "seems" as though there have been slightly fewer hairs falling out, but still not enough to convince me that it has stopped. I'm sure it is too soon to tell, but I plan on getting back on this blog in a month to report back. I will also look into specific supplements that are named here previously along with any natural remedies.

Incidentally, my nails have also become very brittle and have vertical ridges in them. This started many months ago, but just figured I needed to find a good multi-vitamin. The other thing is I have developed dry eyes and my feet and hands are frequently cold as well. I hope as others read these posts, they feel a sense of hope as I do.

Hello, I was put on testosterone--lowest dosage 1mg every two weeks & ATENOLOL--25mg a day. I was on both for a little over two months. Last week I noticed my hair which has always been very thick which also hadn't been cut in four months, went from looking like a bushman's to the point where I can see my scalp. This happened over the course of five days! I stopped BOTH meds after seeing my Dr. this Monday. So it's been three days & I'm going to get haircut today to see how much I've lost. I'm taking Biotin & all different types of vitamins to help. I will try Selenium too since I've read here that it helps. My Dr agreed with me absolutely that it was the Atenolol & NOT the testosterone since I've no bald patterns. Also my hair does NOT come out in my hands at all & I've no idea where all the hair went! I'm hoping & praying constantly for it to grow back. I'm also going to dermatologist tomorrow just in case. I'm hoping that in the next 2-4 months I'll see results. ANYONE who says Atenolol doesn't cause hair loss needs to educate themselves! Can anyone PLEASE just state HOW LONG it took for hair to grow back after stopping Atenolol? Thanks!

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