I am 42 and have had acne on and off since the age of 13. I've taken EVERY medication with the exception of Accutane, but find that Spironolactone works the best (in conjunction with Tazarac and Benzaclyn). I've recently started taking a dose of 100mg/day - up from my original 50 mg -and I've noticed that my hair is coming out like crazy! If you've noticed this too, do you have any suggestions for me?
Today I had my annual visit with my cardiologist - I have cardiomyopathy. I mentioned that I had had blood tests to check that I did not have a thyroid problem as my hair was thinning dreadfully. I am 70. She immediately told me that that was caused by the 25mg daily Spironolactone dosage I take. I was extremely upset and she has taken me off the drug, which I've been on for several years, and I'm to see her again in six months time to see if the hair loss has stopped. My hair has always been fine, but at least you couldn't see my scalp, unlike how it is now. If I die earlier, at least I won't be bald - I hope.
HOLY COW! I first started taking this med when I turned @ 40 as I was having cystic acne - my dermatologist referred to it as "hormonal acne". Initially I didn't notice hair loss. At least not enough that it bothered me greatly. Over time I began to see a slight change. My prescription ran out and I was off the med for almost a month. When I restarted it my hair began coming out in handfuls. In the shower, in my brush, in my hand, on the bed pillow... it has been unbelievable. My scalp is showing. I have been off of it for about a week. So far a little improvement, but this morning after showering it was coming out in handfuls again. I hope that this is a reversible side affect.
My dermatologist didn't confirm that the med was causing this side affect as I haven't been in for a visit, but instead I saw it as the ONLY recent change in my life. After some searching on-line I found this to be a side affect for some.
Hang in there and let me know if you see improvement after stopping use of it.
That happened to me too. Every time I upped the dose on my Spiro, more of my hair fell out. Spironolactone mainly blocks the effects of the hormone Aldosterone, which is *not* an androgen. It just so happens to also block androgens, which is why many women find acne relief and body hair growth reduction while on it. It’s also a diuretic and lowers blood pressure.
I’m not entirely sure why it causes hair loss, but I wonder if it has to do with the effect is has on blood flow to the scalp, or the fact that it lowers Aldosterone.
Either way, you guys are not the only ones experiencing this effect; and most doctors are baffled as to why it happens- even my world renown endocrinologist doesn’t understand the mechanism.
I’m going to ask my endocrinologist to switch me either to Bicalutamide, or to Dutasteride (Avodart). Bicalutamide blocks androgen receptors (without affecting aldosterone), and Dutasteride prevents conversion of testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (which is more potent than testosterone). Those are decent alternatives to people who don’t respond well to Spironolactone, I’ve heard.
Hair shedding from spironolactone is not common but can occur. We call this "telogen effluvium". Usually it occurs within 3-4 months of starting the drug.
I always advise seeing a dermatologist before concluding a drug is the cause of hair loss. Sometimes it's easy to sort out but often it's more challenging.
Let me give you an example. Spironolactone causes irregular periods in 80 % of women and really increases the risk of developing low iron levels - which is one of the most important causes of hair loss in young women!!
In this case, raising the iron levels (by taking iron pills) and addressing the irregular periods is going to help the hair loss - not necessarily stopping the spironolactone.
All in all, hair loss is a fairly rare side effect of spironolactone - but it's certainly possible
Jeff Donovan MD PhD FRCPC FAAD
US & Canadian board-certified Dermatologist
My hair started shedding like crazy to and it's literally abt to freak me out ,not to mention that I am a hairstylist. I was suppose to be taking this medication for acne because I was scared of accutane. I stop taking spiro because I just can't deal with all this hair shedding and weight gain..gosh my hair is already fine. I wonder does it grow back after u stop taking it??? Now I know why I couldn't loss the weight after trying to start a exercise regimen!!!
I have been taking spironolactone for at least 10 years for adult acne. My eyelashes, eyebrows and body hair started falling out about 6 years ago. I was going through a very stressful period and the doctors thought it was from stress. 4 years ago, I went to my dermatologist and she increased my dose of spironolactone to 100mg daily to stimulate hair growth. I used some regrowth products on my eyelashes and most of them grew back. My eyebrows and body hair have not. My hairline has also receded slightly in the last few years. 2 weeks ago I saw my Primary care MD. I told him I'm terrified of going bald. He told me spironolactone can cause hair growth OR loss. He checked my thyroid levels, iron, B12 which were all normal. I immediately stopped the spiro and saw my dermatologist. She doesn't think the spiro is causing my hair loss. Did a biopsy of a hair follicle. I feel certain it is the spiro. No other explanation.
I started 50mg last May and was upped to 100mg in August 2015. I think I started noticing some thinning about 4 months later. Recently though, I realized how quickly it accelerated and I've lost 40% of my once thick hair. My scalp burns and itches and my hair is everwhere. I'm so sad about it and now have anxiety over it.
I am in the same boat as you all. Subsequently, I was prescribed 100 mg of Spiro to start off for my acne that attacked mostly my chest, back, and face. After seeking out accutane, my new dermatologist believed that my acne was hormonal and that spirolactone was the best choice. He said the moment I get off accutane is the moment the acne will return. Putting my trust in him, we went forth. It was about a month and a half that went by in which I started to notice clumps falling out. Let's just say this affect is demoralizing. Out of all things, I was most confident about my hair. Now I have noticed that I have 'layers' from the hair breaking off at different points as well as thinning. I told my derm that it had to of been the sprio but he insists their might be a thyroid problem. This, as I can see in the past comments is usually not the case. I have been off of the medication for about 2 weeks, but constantly still notice hair falling out.
I am adding biotin to my regime and even more mousterizers to my hair. My question is, is there anyone who has had a recovery of their hair, and how long did that take?
Yes i started taking spironolactone and noticed my hair just falling out at a alarming rate. I mean just putting my fingers thru my hair it would just fall out.. I was perfectly fine untill i started those pills so as of today Aug 13,2016 im going to stop taking it and see if my hair stops falling out. I was given spironolactone for edema.. Im so scared im going to be bald!!! Its really bad...
I am dumb-founded because I started Spiro to stop hair loss and acne. Prior to Spiro-I lost over 50% of my hair. It was beyond devastating. I've been on it for 3-4 years and my hair is still thinning but slowed down quite a bit. Also, it cleared up my acne in no time. Recently, I have stopped using it bc my skin(esp on my face) has become so dry. I am hypo-thyroid so there may be a lot of things going on. Also, I wish the Spiro would stop unwanted hair growth on my face and body. It was suppossed to work for those issues but it didn't do anything. I think I'm going to lay off of it for a while and see if my hair grows in and if my acne comes back. Prior to spiro-I had very big pores or blackheads. Since taking the spiro-my pores closed and no more blackheads. So I dont know what to think.
So I just wanted to share my experience with spiro and hair loss. When I began taking spiro a little over a year ago, I had a full, thick head of hair down to the small of my back. I LOVED my hair. I had cystic acne which is why I began the spiro and at first I thought it was a miracle drug. The acne was gone almost immediately, my skin looked great, better than it had in 10 years. But then, I slowly began to notice my hair was dry, and I just kept having "bad" hair days. It just didn't seem like my hair. Then it suddenly began falling out in big clumps in the shower. Hundreds of hairs a day. I could feel the hair detaching from my scalp. This shedding has continued for months and I've lost 50% of my hair. It was also accompanied by intense itching. I've seen two dermatologists for this and had a scalp biopsy. The results of the biopsy showed chronic telogen effluvium and androgenic alopecia.
I've had to be put on topical steroids because it turns out the itching was inflammation in my scalp and it was causing the shedding. I haven't taken spiro in months but my scalp is still so sensitive that I can't even use hair products.
The topical steroids are the only reason the hair stopped shedding so profusely. I want to add that I did go through a very stressful period of my life this last year as well. I think the stress combined with the effects of spiro caused the TE. I would like to treat the androgenic alopecia with topical minoxidil but it is too harsh on my scalp and increases my shedding. I'm hoping that a good course of topical steroids will calm everything down and in a few months I can try minoxidil again. I will NEVER touch spiro again, I don't care what my dermatologist says about it NOT causing hair loss, this drug definitely did not help the hair loss and I believe it made it worse. I will deal with the cystic acne, I would rather have acne and hair than no acne and no hair. Right now I have acne and no hair, which is really depressing.
I have been taking viviscal supplements and they are making my nails grow like crazy and also my body hair. I've only been taking them for a month and a half so the verdict is still out on the hair growth.
I just wanted to put this out there for anyone else taking spiro and having hair loss and itching and burning scalp. If you stop the spiro, and it doesn't improve, ask your derm for a topical steroid. It immediately slowed my hair loss to at least 25% of what I was losing before. I wish I would have known this months ago, I could have saved a lot of my hair. I'm just hoping that eventually my scalp will return to normal and i will regrow some of what I lost. I don't feel like myself without my hair. Good luck to all of you!
- Spironolactone Information for Consumers
- Spironolactone Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Spironolactone (detailed)
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