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Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Imuran/Azathioprine/6-MP » 6-MP, does the hair loss ever stop?


08-31-2013, 05:06 PM   #1
archaeopteryx
 
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6-MP, does the hair loss ever stop?

Well, the subject sort of says it all. I've been on 50mg of 6-MP daily since June to try to get my never-ending flare under control. And I'm losing hair like it's going out of style. My hair was already thin from a combination of malnutrition and anemia, and now it's getting even worse. I constantly feel that tickling sensation of a newly lost hair having fallen onto my arm and need to brush it off, and every time I do, it depresses me more and more.

Does the hair loss tend to stabilize after a while on this drug? Or am I just going to need to deal with the rude comments and self-esteem problems this causes?

Last edited by archaeopteryx; 08-31-2013 at 05:58 PM.
09-01-2013, 01:39 AM   #2
Jennifer
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All I've read about it is that the hair loss will stop and hair growth will return to normal once you stop taking 6MP. I know that doesn't sound encouraging though. I've taken it over 15 years and never noticed an increase in hair loss over time (as in I did notice hair loss but not to the point where I considered a wig or anything like that, it never got worse than what you're describing). Even though we have some hair loss our hair still continues to grow.

My hair has always been very fine and I do believe its thinned out some yet there are things we can do to make it less noticeable and regain some self confidence. I spoke with a hair dresser friend of mine about my issue and asked what I could do and she suggested to stop dying my hair darker (I used to always dye it black when its a fairly light brown) and if I did anything color wise then to go a little lighter. She also suggested cutting the hair shorter as the longer it is the more it gets weighted down making it look flat on top with no body. You don't have to do a short pixie cut to gain more body. Blow drying can also help with more body (use the cool setting if you have it so you don't have heat damage). Layered hair cuts also give that illusion of body as well.

I'm going to tag CrohnsChicago as she started a thread about this a while back so I'm hoping she knows which thread I mean and may link it here and maybe offer suggestions and guidance of her own.
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Diagnosis: Crohn's in 1991 at age 9
Surgeries: 1 Small Bowel Resection in 1999; Central IV in 1991-92
Meds for CD: 6MP 50mg
Things I take: Tenormin 25mg (PVCs and Tachycardia), Junel, Tylenol 3, Omeprazole 20mg 2/day, Klonopin 1mg 2/day (anxiety), Restoril 15mg (insomnia), Claritin 20mg
Currently in: REMISSION Thought it was a flare but it's just scar tissue from my resection. Dealing with a stricture. Remission from my resection, 17 years and counting.
09-01-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
archaeopteryx
 
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All I've read about it is that the hair loss will stop and hair growth will return to normal once you stop taking 6MP. I know that doesn't sound encouraging though. I've taken it over 15 years and never noticed an increase in hair loss over time (as in I did notice hair loss but not to the point where I considered a wig or anything like that, it never got worse than what you're describing). Even though we have some hair loss our hair still continues to grow.

(snip)

I'm going to tag CrohnsChicago as she started a thread about this a while back so I'm hoping she knows which thread I mean and may link it here and maybe offer suggestions and guidance of her own.

Thank you so much for your lengthy reply! I hope that the hair loss does stabilize soon, because it keeps getting worse. I don't even like combing it because it pulls out so many. I generally wear my hair a little past shoulder length, because I have a very round face and that tends to be the most flattering look (imo), but I may need to consider going much shorter. I've been getting rude comments from my co-workers (who does that, seriously?), and have been trying to hide the obvious white scalp parts by using hair building fibers, which I sprinkle on my head and blend in.

All of your suggestions are good and will help me when I go in to my next hair appointment. If I had more money I'd invest in extensions (which might just fall out though) or a high quality wig.

I also restarted my iron supplements, which I had discontinued due to having a colonoscopy last week. Some of the acceleration in hair loss these past few days could also be related to stopping my iron.
09-02-2013, 12:31 AM   #4
Jennifer
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I don't understand the rude comments honestly and I'm sorry you're having to go through that. When I was dying mine black I would take black eyeshadow and try to cover up my scalp some with that.

Ya you'll loose more hair if you try for extensions (that's what I'm told by a friend who has them).

Hopefully the iron supplements help. One thing I noticed as I cut my hair short for the summer, I lost less hair than when it was longer (less on the pillow, in the shower, and falling off on me in general). Now that its growing out again I'm noticing the hair loss again yet still not as bad as it was when it was longer.
09-02-2013, 04:14 AM   #5
Honey
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Hi there,
I could not tolerate Anzathropine and was put on Methotrexate injections. I had hair loss, mostly on each side of my head, which stopped after a while. My hair then stopped growing and I did not need to go to the hairdressers! I got used to thinner hair, as I have very thick hair normally. I am now off that and on Infliximab infusions. My hair is growing slower as my hairdresser appointment s are less frequent. We are all individuals and can respond different ly. It is very upsetting so I understand how difficult it is for you.I hope you feel better soon . I hope it improves for you. Best wishes. Let me know how you are
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09-03-2013, 01:49 AM   #6
archaeopteryx
 
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I don't understand the rude comments honestly and I'm sorry you're having to go through that. When I was dying mine black I would take black eyeshadow and try to cover up my scalp some with that.

Ya you'll loose more hair if you try for extensions (that's what I'm told by a friend who has them).

Hopefully the iron supplements help. One thing I noticed as I cut my hair short for the summer, I lost less hair than when it was longer (less on the pillow, in the shower, and falling off on me in general). Now that its growing out again I'm noticing the hair loss again yet still not as bad as it was when it was longer.
All I can say about the rude comments I get is this: one, I work with a lot of very young and immature people (not saying all young people are bad or anything, I just got stuck with a bunch who seem to think that work = high school) and two, karma's a you-know-what.

Thanks for confirming what I thought about extensions. I'd heard there's hair loss when they eventually need removed.

I've thought about the eyeshadow trick, too. The hair building fibers I use are an okay solution for now. I used to use Toppik, but eventually had a bad reaction to it. I switched brands and use one that doesn't irritate my scalp anymore (can't think of the brand right now, but can check if anyone wants to know).
09-03-2013, 01:53 AM   #7
archaeopteryx
 
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Hi there,
I could not tolerate Anzathropine and was put on Methotrexate injections. I had hair loss, mostly on each side of my head, which stopped after a while. My hair then stopped growing and I did not need to go to the hairdressers! I got used to thinner hair, as I have very thick hair normally. I am now off that and on Infliximab infusions. My hair is growing slower as my hairdresser appointment s are less frequent. We are all individuals and can respond different ly. It is very upsetting so I understand how difficult it is for you.I hope you feel better soon . I hope it improves for you. Best wishes. Let me know how you are
.
Thanks for your support. I had heard that methotrexate also causes hair loss. So unfortunate, because it's especially hard to deal with hair loss as a woman. Even my parents were making unkind comments about a woman we saw on TV who had thin hair. I quickly told my dad to knock it off and explained why those comments are hurtful to people. Unfortunately I don't think my words got to him, as he was raised by a mother who made rude comments about peoples' appearances all the time and it seems to have rubbed off on him.

I'm getting sidetracked...but anyway, my hope is that I can go off 6-MP when a new drug is approved that I can tolerate. I can't take Remicade/Humira/Cimzia anymore, so my only hope now is pretty much for a new drug to be released. Other than the hair loss, I'm tolerating 6-MP well, so I just have to suck it up and accept the hair loss. And keep taking my iron, because that seems to also help.
09-04-2013, 03:10 PM   #8
CrohnsChicago
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I'm going to tag CrohnsChicago as she started a thread about this a while back so I'm hoping she knows which thread I mean and may link it here and maybe offer suggestions and guidance of her own.
Hello there!

Tried finding the thread but came up empty

But based on threads I have read in the past an previous google searches, I have heard that for many who deal with the hair loss it tends to reverse itself after you discontinue the medication. While on the medication, some here have resorted to prenatal pills and some forms of specialized hair re-growth shampoos. I have also heard Biotin mentioned a number of places on the forum for attempting to treat hair loss. but I personally have not tried any of them nor do I have an opinion on their effectiveness.

Here are a few threads on hair loss that I recall looking at. Maybe if you post here and revive the thread someone will chime in and offer you additional support.

http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=37390

http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=2209&page=2

You can also check out the Support Group for folks taking Imuran/Aza/6-mp and see if you can find others in there dealing with the same issues
http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=47938
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Crohn's-Colitis May 2012
Current Meds:
6-MP (100mg) / Asacol (4800mg)
Past Meds:
Prednisone/ Entocort / Flagyl
Current Supplements:
B12 Shot (1cc/mo) / Multivitamin / Vitamin D (1000iu) / Calcium (1200mg) / Omega 3 Fish Oil (4800mg)
Additional Info:
Anemia/Borderline Anemia - whole life
Generalized Anxiety Disorder - 2009 (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness meditation)

09-07-2013, 04:52 PM   #9
archaeopteryx
 
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Again, thank you for your help and research on this. I do take 7500 mcg of Biotin every day (Sundown Naturals brand), along with Vitamin D3 and a multivitamin, iron, and Vitamin C. I have such poor absorption of vitamins that I have to load up on vitamins or I can't even function. The hair loss I'd previously had was getting so much better before starting 6-MP and now it's worse than ever. I'm hoping I will be able to take the new drug vedolizumab when it is released and go off 6-MP.
09-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #10
Honey
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Hi there,
I was just at my Hairdressers to get my hair cut and blow dried , yesterday. My last appointment was the end of June!!! I use Molton Brown volumiser shampoo , and Indian Cress conditioner by the same company, which helps fill out my hair. Both cost 36 which is a lot of money, but it is a quality product and it works. Just a suggestion, invest in an expensive quality hair shampoo, and separate conditioner, and you will find the difference!!! The feel good factor of really pampering yourself with a quality item will help you deal with such an upsetting problem!!! Be kind to yourself just now as you are having a difficult time. Let me know how you are. I am in hospital tomorrow for my Remicade infusion. I have not been feeling good today, very tired and feverish, so resting a lot. I will let them know , as they may need to postpone treatment. Best wishes.
09-08-2013, 12:32 PM   #11
Johnnysmom
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My son's hair loss did slow down quite a bit the longer he was on 6mp. They did lower the dose though, so I am not sure if that was what slowed it down or if he just became adjusted. He did start gaining weight and becoming more healthy in general too, which helped thicken up his hair.

Hope things get better for you soon. (((hugs)))
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09-08-2013, 02:33 PM   #12
maile
 
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First of all, I don't know what kind of comb you are using but you should get one with thick, smooth teeth and wide apart so that it does not pull on your hair when you comb.
Secondly, you said that you already had thin hair from malnutrition and anemia. You should see an endocrinologist and check out your hormones, particularly your testosterone and DHEA as this can cause hair loss if it is high. The solution to this is taking spironolactone or aldactone. This stops hair loss if it is caused by high testosterone and DHEA levels.
I know this because I've had hair loss since puberty and it was caused by high testosterone and DHEA. Dermatologists and endocrinologists often prescribe spirinolactone for hair loss. Of course if your thin hair and hair loss is only caused by the 6MP, then this won't help. But you should check out your hormones or see a dermatologist or endocrinologist. I don't lose hair anymore. I use just a small dose of spirinolactone everyday.
09-08-2013, 02:36 PM   #13
maile
 
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I should say, of course I do lose some hair but a normal amount. It doesn't fall out like water like it use to.
09-09-2013, 05:14 AM   #14
ErikaHouston
 
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Mine stopped after about 4 months. I thought for sure I was going bald - never did :-). Been on it 2 yrs 9 mo now and still in remission. Good luck!
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3 Hemorhages (July '10, Sept '10, Oct '10) - no other Crohn's symptoms

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Currently on Entocort and Apriso and starting Imuran in December '10

History of Melanoma ('08) so avoiding TNF blockers.
09-09-2013, 01:47 PM   #15
archaeopteryx
 
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Lots of great advice from everyone. Thank you!
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