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Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Imuran/Azathioprine/6-MP » Treatment advice: Hair loss from Allopurinol and Azathioprine?


09-13-2013, 09:30 PM   #1
dcsportsfan5
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
Treatment advice: Hair loss from Allopurinol and Azathioprine?

HELP!

Has anyone experienced abnormal hair loss from Azathioprine or Allopurniol or both? In the last couple months my hair started shedding like crazy and it falls out in clumps in the shower or falls out when I touch it. I have gotten numerous blood tests to rule out thyroid issues or vitamin deficiencies. I did lose some weight recently on purpose but I honestly don't think it would cause this type of reaction. The only thing I can really pin point is the medication. Has anyone experienced this? Also would I be better off on Remicade? Does Remicade cause hair to fall out as well? Less symptoms?

Is it unreasonable for me to not want to accept these side effects?? My doctor has made it extremely difficult for me to change medications and won't offer much help in explaining alternative treatments.

I don't want to lose my hair because of a bad reaction to a drug especially when there might be a better treatment for me.

Any advice or recommendations are appreciated!

I'm currently on 100mg of Allopurinol and 50 mg of Azathioprine.

Last edited by dcsportsfan5; 09-14-2013 at 01:07 PM.
09-16-2013, 12:20 AM   #2
Jennifer
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Hi dcsportsfan5 and welcome to the forum!

"Hair loss or thinning of the hair" is listed as a rare side effect for Allopurinol. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dru...N=side-effects

"Hair loss or thinning of the hair" is listed as a possible side effect of Azathioprine. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dru...N=side-effects

I've taken 6MP (similar to Aza) for well over 15 years and did notice some hair loss but it never increased and my hair did continue to grow. Your hair should return back to normal once the medication is stopped (yet stopping the medication isn't really the goal). There are things you can do to make the hair loss less noticeable such as a shorter hair cut (even shoulder length provides more body than longer hair), hair cuts with layers and to not dye your hair darker than its natural color as that just makes your scalp stand out more (don't bleach it or get extensions because that just causes more hair loss).

I wouldn't say that Remicade has less side effects and some people have reported hair loss as a side effect link 1 side effect list, link 2 (hair loss listed). Getting the inflammation under control and keeping it in remission is what's most important. If you want to try another medication in hopes of achieving that then I encourage you to talk to your GI about switching to something else. If your current GI wont listen then you should be able to seek out a second opinion.

Here's a recent thread that may help as well: http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=55344
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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.
09-16-2013, 05:50 AM   #3
Aussie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Hi Dcsportsfan, both Imuran and Allopurinol can lead to telogen effluvium. Will usually settle with time.

Best wishes.
09-16-2013, 11:39 AM   #4
dcsportsfan5
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
Jennier and Aussie thank you very much for the replies. Having my hair fallout with no answers has been very stressful and traumatic for me.

My doctor truly does not seem to care or be concerned how much stress this is causing me. It has effected my day to day living. It is concerning that Remicade causes the same side effect, maybe I will have a better reaction?

Also why all off sudden am I noticing hair loss now? I have been on Aza and Allopurinol for years. Maybe since my hair was so thick I never noticed the loss as much before. In the last 6-8 months they increased my dosage of 25mg to 50mg of Aza. In 2011 I ruptured my colon and had a colostomy for about 6 months, thankfully it was reversed. It took me about a full year to recover physically and emotionally. Since then I have had a few obstructions that I was hospitalized for.

Just when I started to feel better, my hair falls out. My doctor has made me go through so many hoops just to get an office visit. After 5-6 separate blood tests, 3 visits to the dermatologist, plus a scalp biopsy I finally get to see her. Then she disregards my concern and basically suggests Remicade almost just to get me out of her office. Terrible. On top of that I have had to wait weeks for my transfusion not even knowing if it will be better for me or cause even worse side effects!

So frustrated! I have tried stopping the aza and allopurinol for days but even if I'm noticing slight improvement in my hair my crohn's symptoms crop back up. I'm seeking a second opinion but of course that doctor can't see me for a couple of weeks.

Last edited by dcsportsfan5; 09-16-2013 at 12:34 PM.
09-16-2013, 01:52 PM   #5
Patricia56
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California, USA
It sounds like the hair loss became noticeable when you changed doses. So I am guessing that is the likely cause.

It may settle down but frankly if you are still having obstructions on it then it seems to me a higher level of care might be appropriate - namely remicade.

Losing hair on AZA is a fairly common side effect. I have never heard of anyone losing hair on Remicade and I've spent a few years on various CD boards. Not to say it can't happen just that it would appear to be much rarer than AZA.

Hope your 2nd opinion appt comes through soon and you find some answers that meet your needs.
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Dxd age 10, 2006 after nearly 1 year of active sx
Current CD meds: Remicade, Methotrexate and Omeprazole, Vit. D, Calcium, Folic Acid, Probiotic

Nothing I say here should be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor. These are just my opinions.
09-30-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
dcsportsfan5
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
I'm about to get my second infusion of Remicade tomorrow. Too early to tell but I can tell I have less crohn's symptoms and feel better in that regard than I did on Imuran/Aza. Less bowel movements, less cramping, and pains. I do have bouts of fatigue but I also had that while on Aza. (Oddly scars I have had on my skin for months started to clear up? not sure if that is from the Remicade). I'm starting to wonder if I would have prevented the colon rupture if I was on Remicade from the beginning.

The abnormal hair loss has continued, at what point would the Aza/allopurinol be completely out of my system and when should expect the hair loss to settle?
10-02-2013, 06:35 AM   #7
MissCadenza
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Feltham, United Kingdom
I hope your hair loss settles down! I am on aza as well and have noticed that my hair is thinning (the shower plughole is always clogged) but I have short hair anyway, so I just asked my stylist to cut a few more layers in to fluff it out. Seems to have done the trick, it only looks thin and crummy when it's wet now.

Until it stops try a thickening product to make it look nice and bouncy. This may sound weird but a good trick also is to blow dry your hair upside down - tip your head forwards and get that hair dryer on it, full speed! Aim at the roots. I cheat and use a thickening spray as well because I am a terribly vain creature and if I don't look my best I can't deal with the world.

Let us know how you get on Wishing you the best!
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11-27-2013, 10:33 AM   #8
MarkhamStreet
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Toronto, Ontario
My hair started thinning shortly after starting Aza 2 years ago. But when my dose was reduced from 200mg to 125mg, the hair loss stopped. Then it reversed, and darkened! Within a few months, I went from totally silver grey hair to thick salt and pepper. And the dark hair is black rather than my original brown. The guy who cuts my hair is amazed. It's about the only positive side effect of any med I've ever taken. Anyone else experience this?
01-20-2014, 07:57 PM   #9
dcsportsfan5
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
My hair started thinning shortly after starting Aza 2 years ago. But when my dose was reduced from 200mg to 125mg, the hair loss stopped. Then it reversed, and darkened! Within a few months, I went from totally silver grey hair to thick salt and pepper. And the dark hair is black rather than my original brown. The guy who cuts my hair is amazed. It's about the only positive side effect of any med I've ever taken. Anyone else experience this?

I've always wondered if there is a coincidence of the imuran at the right dose suppressing the immune system from aging the hair or causing hair loss. I had been on it for years at 25mg and my hair grew like crazy then I got sick and increased the dose to 150mg and slowly down to 50mg and I had issues with my hair. May not be related because I also lost weight. I panicked and changed to Remicade..... awful decision I was extremely fatigued on that stuff and seemed to make my symptoms worse, so now I'm off everything and my hair is a mess. I'm hoping it will come to what it was 5-6 months ago. Thankfully I had thick hair to begin with so it isn't noticeable to others.
03-27-2015, 05:36 AM   #10
D Bergy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
You might want to check out black seed oil. One of its many benefits is that it can regrow hair. I don't know if it will in the case of a drug induced hair loss, but I don't know it won't work either. It has many other benefits that might help with Crohns.

Check for drug interactions before use.

http://draxe.com/black-seed-oil-benefits/

Dan
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Nothing I post here is to be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor or health professional.
They are simply my opinions.
03-27-2015, 03:09 PM   #11
dcsportsfan5
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
You might want to check out black seed oil. One of its many benefits is that it can regrow hair. I don't know if it will in the case of a drug induced hair loss, but I don't know it won't work either. It has many other benefits that might help with Crohns.

Check for drug interactions before use.

http://draxe.com/black-seed-oil-benefits/

Dan
Dan is this from experience using black seed oil?
03-28-2015, 10:46 AM   #12
D Bergy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
I take black seed oil, but more as an experiment to see if it keeps mycoplasma and MAP from reproducing. I do not have a hair loss problem now, but did when I was ill. The hair came back on its own, before I was using the supplement.

Not sure if it is used internally or topically for hair loss.

Dan
10-17-2016, 06:44 PM   #13
Katz
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
3 weeks ago I started to lose a lot of hair daily. Today, just 3 weeks later I have lost all of my hair.
I had long blond hair I'm 57 but look good for my age. This has been so difficult to deal with because it's only been 3 weeks!
Doctors said it was stress, inflammation but it's never normal to lose all of your hair in 3 weeks.
My thyroid was checked, my iron levels, hormones...all ok.

I was doing my own research when I came across this page.
I just started taking Allopurinol about 3 months ago....I wonder if that is the cause?
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