Every medication comes with its fair share of side effects. In most cases, these side effects are unnoticeable, but sometimes, things get a bit more serious.
Take amlodipine, for example, many take the drug as a blood pressure treatment and then experience hair loss or thinning. Does amlodipine cause hair loss? Keep reading to find out!
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Amlodipine?
- 2 Does Amlodipine Cause Hair Loss?
- 3 Why Does Amlodipine Cause Hair Loss?
- 4 Is Amlodipine an ACE Inhibitor?
- 5 Is Hair Loss from Amlodipine Permanent?
- 6 Should I Stop Amlodipine Now?
- 7 Other Common Causes of Hair Loss
- 8 Amlodipine Alternatives to Ask Your Doctor About
What Is Amlodipine?
Amlodipine is a medication developed to treat high blood pressure. Consequently, it helps to prevent strokes, angina, and kidney problems, among other issues. Amlodipine is a calcium blocker that works in your arteries and tissues to block calcium.
This, in turn, relaxes your arteries, helps to lower your blood pressure and promotes smooth and unrestricted blood flow throughout your body.
You can use amlodipine with other medicines to treat high blood pressure and coronary artery disease (CAD) as prescribed by your doctor.
Does Amlodipine Cause Hair Loss?
Most blood pressure medications carry the risk of hair thinning or temporary hair loss, and amlodipine is no different. There have been rare cases where the medication has been shown to be the direct cause of hair loss in patients.
According to one study based on an in-depth analysis of FDA data, only 1.38% of people have experienced hair loss using amlodipine. To jump into that statistic a little bit deeper, out of 252,343 people who reported side effects from amlodipine, only 3,479 of them reported hair loss.
Per that same Phase IV Clinical Study, it was found that the chances of developing hair loss are higher than average if you are at least 60 years old and have been taking the drug between 2 and 5 years.
So, if you suspect that amlodipine is causing you to lose hair, there’s a very minute chance the medicine could be to blame.
Why Does Amlodipine Cause Hair Loss?
Amlodipine belongs to the medical class of calcium channel blockers (CCBs), which are known to cause hair loss. Health care professionals and drug researchers have not put much effort into finding out why amlodipine causes hair loss.
Perhaps this is because the rate of hair loss associated with amlodipine intake is extremely low. Therefore, many just accept that hair loss is a rare side effect of the drug.
Is Amlodipine an ACE Inhibitor?
ACE inhibitors, another class of medicines that relax the veins and arteries to lower blood pressure, are thought to cause hair loss.
Amlodipine is not an ACE inhibitor. However, Lotrel is one drug that combines both benazepril (an ACE inhibitor) and amlodipine to treat high blood pressure. So, some people may think that they’re taking amlodipine only when they’re actually taking both amlodipine and an ACE inhibitor.
An ACE inhibitor causes hair follicles to become dormant by forcing them into the resting phase. Secondly, ACE inhibitors also inhibit the activity of matrix cells, which work to create the outer and inner shaft of your hair. It’s for this reason that unlucky users of ACE inhibitors begin experiencing hair loss and baldness.
Is Hair Loss from Amlodipine Permanent?
In most cases, hair loss from any medication, including amlodipine, is temporary. Your hair growth rate is likely to return to normal after you stop taking amlodipine. However, in some cases, the hair thinning or loss is permanent.
In this case, you must visit your doctor who prescribed the drug and discuss the side effects you are experiencing.
To increase your hair’s growth rate, you should try your best to consume a healthy and well-balanced diet that contains vitamins that boost hair growth. These vitamins include:
- Biotin – Helps to promote new hair growth where hair loss has occurred.
- Iron – Oxygenates the cells in your roots and scalp, stimulating healthy hair growth.
- Vitamin C – Aids in the production of collagen, which is one of the building blocks of healthy hair.
- Vitamin D – Supports the formation of new hair follicles.
- Zinc – Assists in hair tissue growth and repair.
In addition to this, consider using a keratin-rich shampoo and conditioner. Both help to prevent hair loss and promote hair thickness.
Should I Stop Amlodipine Now?
If your doctor prescribed you blood pressure medication, they have determined that the benefits of the drug outweigh any potential side effects. On top of that, blood pressure issues are life-threatening.
If you stop taking amlodipine abruptly, you could be opening yourself up to adverse health events such as strokes and heart attacks. So, we strongly urge you to continue taking your amlodipine as prescribed regardless of the amount of hair loss you’re experiencing.
Only your doctor can tell you whether stopping your blood pressure medication is a good idea. Another option is to ask your doctor (or a suitable healthcare professional) to consider alternative drugs for your specific needs. You could also ask about potential natural remedies.
Other Common Causes of Hair Loss
Given that the risk of hair loss due to amlodipine is trivial, you must consider the fact that something else could be to blame. When you begin losing your hair, many factors and conditions could be in play. These include:
- Androgenetic alopecia: Androgenetic alopecia is a condition that causes hair loss as you age. In most cases, the hair loss is hereditary and not restricted by gender – both males and females experience it. The first sign of genetic alopecia may be bald spots and thinning hair around the temples.
- Behavioral Conditions: Hair loss can result due to your own habits, including rough styling and tight hairstyles. Continuous hair pulling can cause hair follicles to weaken, leading to swift and widespread hair loss.
- Hair Products: If you style your hair excessively using heavy hair products, wax, or chemicals, your hair could suffer in the long run. These products can cause hair dryness, loss of hair elasticity, and hair damage, ultimately leading to hair loss.
- Cancer Treatment: Chemotherapy is a radiation treatment developed to treat various cancers. Though chemotherapy can be lifesaving, you may lose all your hair at the start of treatment. Thankfully, the hair may grow back after the completion of treatment.
- Syphilis: Syphilis is an STI (sexually transmitted infection) that can cause patchy hair loss on the scalp, eyebrows, and beard. If you treat this condition immediately after symptoms show up, you can avoid hair loss. But even if you do experience hair loss from syphilis, your hair will likely grow back over time.
- Alopecia areata: Alopecia areata causes hair to fall out suddenly. It’s a vicious condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles, leading to hair loss. You must see seek immediate care if you start experiencing alopecia areata.
Amlodipine Alternatives to Ask Your Doctor About
If you are experiencing hair loss while taking amlodipine and wish to change your anti-hypertension medication, then consult your doctor to find the best blood pressure treatment for your specific needs.
Don’t take any non-prescribed medications, as it may result in the development of potentially serious side effects.
Here is a list of trusted alternatives for amlodipine that could help you control high blood pressure, angina, or coronary artery disease (CAD):
- Nifedipine: A calcium channel blocker that’s similar to amlodipine.
- Lisinopril (Zestril): An angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor.
- Losartan (Cozaar): An angiotensin II receptor blocker.
- Metoprolol (Lopressor): A beta-blocker.
Consult your doctor before starting any new medication. They’ll understand the drug risks and know for sure whether these medications will work for you.
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- How Do You Get Rid of Breakage on Top of Hair?
- How Often Should I Massage My Scalp for Hair Growth?
- What’s the Best Shampoo for Hair Loss?
Despite the fact that hair loss is rare with amlodipine, you just might experience it. If you have concerns about hair loss and want to avoid it, your doctor can help walk you through your other medication options.
We hope that this article has answered all of your questions about hair loss with amlodipine and wish you the best with your health and your hair.