Q. I have noticed a lot of hair loss in the last two months. It began after I started three new medications. I asked at the drug store and was told that none of these drugs have hair loss as a side effect, but I am not sure I believe that.

I take fenofibrate for high cholesterol, Lyrica for fibromyalgia and naproxen for pain from fibromyalgia. Can any of these drugs cause hair loss? I have lost so much hair it is all over the place. I even find it falling out when I am just sitting around.

A. Hair loss (alopecia) is listed as a possible side effect of each of your three new medications: fenofibrate (Fenoglide, Lipofen, Tricor), pregabalin (Lyrica) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn). We don’t know how the person you asked at the pharmacy overlooked this information.

Please talk with your doctor about possible changes in your drug regimen to stop the hair loss. We are sending you our Guide to Hair and Nail Care, with a list of drugs that may lead to hair loss and ways to counteract thinning.

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  1. Lisa

    This is very interesting! I was on Lyrica for nearly 2 years before the side effects alerted me to severe health problems from continuing it. I’d never seen the hair loss warning, but I certainly can attest to my experience being exactly the same with my hair (long strands, not caused from breakage) that frankly, amazed me that I had any hair left after so much had fallen out. I didn’t attribute it to Lyrica, but I’ve been off of it since June, 2016, and my hair loss has completely stopped, and beginning to come back to my original shiny, fine tresses and growing longer again.

    I will be 70 in June, and I’d thought it was just an “age related” thing before reading this article. I am delighted to report this is one side effect that does go away after about 6 months. The vertigo has not unfortunately, and my balance is so unstable that I must use a rolling walker to avoid tipping over suddenly when walking outside on sidewalks and streets. The blurriness is still an ongoing problem, and I used to have much better focus prior to Lyrica. Be encouraged though, because apparently the hair loss will cease once off of it. I have also lost 25 lbs. since stopping Lyrica, and no longer have swelling in my feet, no cramping in my legs, joints are no longer extremely painful due to the arthritis and inflammation.

    I have completely changed my diet also. No more corn syrup, soy, sugars, processed foods (contain so many BAD hidden ingredients) and eat organic, no pesticides local grown foods as much as possible. I live in a senior apt. with a sidewalk instead of a yard so I can’t grow my own food and am not allowed to have more than 3 quart size pots on the sidewalk area next to my patio door.

    If you are lucky enough to afford a place with a yard, definitely start growing your own food, it really helps!

  2. LMC

    I too am wondering re the loss of hair. I took Fosomax only a few months at least a year ago. «I have however, taken Crestor for a few years. The 1st thing that I noticed was that my hair felt different – not in a good way, Then I started to lose hair- it would fall off as I sat reading a book. My hair stylist (about a year ago) started to notice that my hair wasn`t growing. I thought that this was OK – a symptom of menopause – it also saved money in haircuts and I had always had a VERY thick head of hair. At 1st it was a relief – my hair wasn`t such a pain to blow dry. Now, I have lost about 1/2 my hair and I am VERY concerned! I will be seeing a naturopath for cholesterol alternatives as well as my DR. re other causes to the hair loss problem.

  3. o.d.f

    gostaria de saber se o colesterol alto contribui para a queda de cabelo?
    Poeple’s Pharmacy response: As far as we know, high cholesterol is not in itself a cause of hair loss.

    • Carolyn Midgley
      Bennettsville, S.C.

      I know without a doubt that FosMX caused my hair to start falling out I had 2 Femer compound
      fracture for taking it 17 yrs! I have suffered and need advice ! My Lawyer in Ala. hasn’t furnished info! Please help me as I’m a grandmother and need some one that cares!

  4. Justin

    It is very interesting and useful. I will try an other drug since hair loss is a major problem for me. I do want to have less pain, but I can try other medications to have a good effect on pain, but without hair lost. Keep up the good job and Happy New Year.

  5. cjfw

    I’m done! I can’t take the hair loss either. I have been diagnosed with very high bad cholesterol, and low good cholesterol, as well as fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes, IV injectable Boniva for osteoporosis and a condition nick-named nut-cracker esophagus (spasms mimicking a heart attack and very painful.) I also suffer from extremely dry mucosal tissues. I am a 67 yr. old female.
    I have white hair, and so thin hair really makes me a pink-headed almost bald woman. I have been an entertainer for years, and still enjoy performing occasionally. Pink-head does not get it! When I take any statin I have hair fall out throughout the day and night. It falls into my food, on my computer keyboard, etc. I would rather die with hair than live “a little longer” as a pink-headed old woman.
    I have switched to a chiropractor for my pain issues, started taking the advice of a naturopath, homeopath and researching the healthy ways to fight the cholesterol problem. since seeing the chiropractor, I have been able to quit taking the medication for the esophagus problem (no spasm in 3 months), have not needed pain medications, I walk taller and straighter, and the hump is gone from the back of my neck. I am 3/4′ taller according to my MD, and my hair loss is slowing.
    Diet and exercise with ample sleep will help with 90% of your hair loss problems without drugs, drugs, drugs.

  6. GV

    The simvastatin causes hair loss I was taking 20mg for 6 months and noticed hair starting to fall out I also had a burning sensation on my scalp. I went off it for 6 months and the hair loss stopped and the hair started growing. My doctor started me on 10mg of lipitor 5 months later the same thing happened hair loss, scalp burning. I stopped on Jan 5th I’m suppose to have a blood test on Tue. no more statins for me, my cholesterol was 246 before I started these drugs.
    The drug industry has been pushing for years to lower the level standard for cholesterol so they can get half the world on these drugs. Its all about drug sales not what’s good for the patient, and the doctors show the drug reps. copies of how many patients are on these drugs and then they are given perks. If you know someone that works in the heart dept at a hospital check with them you will find a lot of people have heart attacks with low cholesterol. Theses statins have more side effects then hair loss like memory, muscle damage, depression, etc the list goes on and on. Hair loss happens to many people on these drugs but some times takes years to occur or when they up the dose they start to notice it, or they think its their age. The drug companies are trying to keep this effect quite, because many people would consider this a major side effect and stop taking them. Eat healthy, watch your weight, exercise, take aspirin, vitamins, and enjoy life.

  7. Yvonne S.

    I posted a blog just a few minutes ago about the negative side effects I have been experiencing with Simivistatin. I thought it was perimenopause in full swing, but really feel my hair shouldn’t thin out that fast in just 4-5 months. It is quite startling and has happened so fast. I too am frustrated and am making a decision not to bathe my body in too many pharmaceuticals any more not matter what the darn labs say. (hair loss, increased glucose, weight gain, constipation, and being tired all the time) are not worth it. I haven’t been myself since and don’t feel good. When I quit taking this drug even for a few days, I feel great, energized, and can poop with ease just like the old days. The red yeast rice has the same effect too.

  8. Yvonne S.

    I started taking 20mg of Simvistatin for high cholesterol every hs. I am a 41 year old woman who has noticed a DRASTIC thinning in my hair on the whole top of my head. No one else notices. I even ask friends. I am not crazy, this is happening. It just dawned on me it might be this drug. It happened around the same time I started taking it. I am discontinuing the drug also because it makes me feel profoundly tired and constipated.
    I just don’t feel good and have been taking COQ enzyme 10 as suggested. I believe this statin has increased my fasting glucose to increase from 99 -100 to 114. The doctors have tunnel vision because it got all the other numbers in line. I will manage this with diet and exercise.

  9. pdc

    I am a 61 yr. old female and began noticing unexplained hair thinning 10 years ago. A dermatologist recommended Rogaine for men (5% minoxidil) although FDA hadn’t approved it for women. Studies just hadn’t been done. I used it once or twice daily. I didn’t like dealing with the greasy looking affect, but discovered that applying it by dropper along hairline only, while head tilted back, kept most of dose on scalp, not hair. Rogaine made a significant difference, but my sensitive skin couldn’t take the itchiness after a while. Doctor recommended going to Women’s Rogaine 2% but that wasn’t strong enough, so I buy both and mix the two equally.
    The Costco brand minoxodil works just as well and is much cheaper. I can tell a difference if I stop using this product. Hair loss starts again. Now, after 11 years of use, I use this 2%/5% mix about 2 times a week, the night before I wash my hair. I’m quite happy with the results and plan to use it forever unless I develop an allergy to it.

  10. Courtney

    I took Depakote, Geodon and Wellbutrin for a long time after having complications from prolonged PPD. I also took Topamax, Lamictal and Invega in the past. My hair thinned out terribly and my drain would clog each time I washed my hair from so much hair coming out. My psychiatrist said the drugs could not possibly be to blame for my thinning hair but I don’t believe that to be true.
    Since stopping these medications my hair has grown back in, thicker and curlier than ever. I was also taking the correct dose of Synthroid at this time so I know it was not a thyroid hormone imbalance.

  11. rw

    Ugh. There are definitely lots of reasons for hair loss besides hereditary problems. It’s really important to find the reason for hair loss before you start treating it.

  12. Audrey

    I am experiencing hair loss from Topamax. To counteract it, I take 5000 mcg of Biotin daily. I also take Selenium, Zinc, Folic Acid, and Iron. These have significantly improved the condition and growth of my hair. All were recommended by my neuro once I began noticing the hair loss. It takes a while to notice changes to hair growth. The improvements were immediately noticeable in my nails and skin.

  13. Ann

    Does anyone have any experience with using Rogaine for Women? My dermatologist told me to use it — I have very general hair loss caused by a thyroid problem. My thyroid medicine seems to have slowed down the hair loss. My pharmacist tells me that my hair could fall out again if I use the Rogaine for a few months and then stop. Is this likely? Does this always happen with Rogaine for Women?

  14. Dolores

    I am a woman. I know that hair loss can come from an inadequate dose of thyroid medication. I started losing hair after I was placed on Synthroid after being on dessicated thyroid medication for years.
    I have lost half my hair. I always had a head of very thick long of hair. Not any more. Also, I have been put on a lot more prescription medications since 1999. I wonder about those.

  15. Ann

    I have been losing more and more and more hair over the past year. My TSH was a bit high so I recently increased my levothyroxine. It seems to have helped a little, but just a little. It so happens that I increased my dose of Crestor from 5 to 10 mg a year ago. My cardiologist said that other female patients suspected hair loss from Crestor. And I also received Reclast for the first time one year ago. Before Reclast I had been taking Fosamax for several years. Does anyone think the Crestor increase or the Reclast could have caused the hair loss?

  16. victoria b l

    I am experiencing hair thinning… as a female it is very stressing… Will simvastatin, aggronox, azor bystolic, or motrin 800 mg cause hair thinning???
    This is very frustrating…HELP!!!! vicki

  17. a.s.

    started losing my hair @ 16 yrs. 50 yrs later, I still have SOME, but not much except by beard & back. never bothered me . . . Or my wife of 36 yrs or our 3 daughters.

  18. ll

    I take simvastatin for high cholesterol. Also evista for bone loss and citalopram for depression. I have been gradually losing my hair over the last two years.

  19. DH

    I felt that Fosamax caused some hair loss, but after stop taking it, still have the loss and thinning. I wonder if Tylenol can also cause this and can you tell what could help this. Maybe one of your columns could give suggestions on what shampoo, etc might help.
    I really appreciate all the information that you give in the columns. I believe it is a valuable wealth of knowledge.!

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