There are many medications that can affect your hair growth cycle. According to eHealthMe – a company that does clinical trials on medications – there are over 3,000 different drugs that can cause hair loss as one of its side effects.
Amlodipine is a medication used to treat high blood pressure, but you may be wondering if it causes hair loss. Does amlodipine cause hair loss? Yes, in some cases, it does.
Knowing how amlodipine works and why it can cause hair loss may help you find ways to keep your thick and healthy hair. So, let’s look at amlodipine, what it is used for, and what you can do to prevent hair loss because of it.
What is Amlodipine?
Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker. These allow you to still absorb calcium from your food and use it in your bones and everywhere else you need it. Calcium channel blockers simply prevent calcium from building up in your blood vessels and arteries.
Any type of buildup in your arteries and blood vessels can cause a long list of possible health problems. Though amlodipine can be prescribed for any one of these medical conditions, there are a few it is more commonly used for.
What Is Amlodipine Used For?
Because of its effect on your blood, amlodipine is most often prescribed as a blood pressure medication. Other than that, amlodipine is also used for:
Certain kidney conditions
To prevent strokes
Angina attacks (severe chest pain)
Other heart conditions
Most of these help your heart in some way, but your kidneys can benefit from having this prescribed as well. It is offered in tablet or liquid form and is usually taken once a day.
Is Amlodipine An ACE Inhibitor?
ACE inhibitors are the type of medication most commonly used to treat high blood pressure but are also commonly associated with hair loss. Most blood pressure medications are ACE inhibitors, which work by relaxing blood vessels to lower blood pressure levels. Beta-blockers work in much the same way, and are also known for causing hair loss.
Amlodipine works primarily by getting rid of the blockage. Therefore, amlodipine is not an ACE inhibitor, even though it can cause hair loss as well.
Since amlodipine works differently, other blood pressure medications are sometimes combined with it. This is most commonly done in cases of excessively high blood pressure, but it can be done in a single medication.
So, your doctor may give you a prescription medication that has amlodipine as the main ingredient. However, it may also have ACE inhibitors in it.
Amlodipine Side Effects
The side effects of amlodipine can be divided into two categories. First, there are the ones that are mild and common. These are ones you may not even notice.
Second, there are more severe side effects that you may be able to deal with but should definitely tell your healthcare provider about.
A complete list can be found on the Mayo Clinic website, but I’ll go over the main ones.
Common Side Effects
The common side effects are ones almost everyone experiences to some degree. The most common one is swelling in your lower legs and ankles. You may not have enough swelling to notice it unless you wear tight shoes, or the swelling may be severe enough to be painful when you walk.
The other side effects in this category include:
Your face feels hot or warm (flushing)
Muscle or joint pain
Some of these side effects of amlodipine may go away after a while as your body adjusts to the new medication, and not everyone has them. If they are worse than what can be classified as mild or last longer than a few weeks, you should tell your healthcare provider about them.
Severe Side Effects
The serious side effects of amlodipine are ones you should inform your doctor about as soon as possible. With some of these, you should stop taking amlodipine immediately. These include:
An irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
Bloody urine or stools
Severe stomach pain
Severe allergic reactions
Unusual bleeding or bruising
Unfortunately, amlodipine is used to reduce chest pain caused by angina. In this case, it may be almost impossible to determine if the pain is because of your angina or because you are taking amlodipine.
Amlodipine’s Affect On Hair Growth
Though amlodipine is used to control high blood pressure, it has a definite effect on people’s hair growth. Though eHealthMe proved that this blood pressure medication does cause hair loss, their clinical study showed that less than 2% of the participants had hair shedding.
On the other hand, there are rare cases when amlodipine may be good for hair health. So, a closer look at exactly how amlodipine affects your hair is needed.
Does Amlodipine Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, amlodipine does cause hair loss, but why? Though there is no concrete evidence, it is thought that the cause is because it blocks too much calcium.
Other calcium channel blockers also have hair loss as a side effect, and there have been cases where this type of medication caused calcium deficiencies.
Since calcium is necessary for healthy hair growth, your hair follicles won’t be able to properly make your hair strands without it.
The result is both thinning hair strands and some hair follicles that simply don’t make a strand at all. Thin hair strands are, unfortunately, breakable, making your hair loss seem even worse.
Does Amlodipine Cause Hair Growth?
As mentioned, amlodipine works by preventing buildup in your arteries and blood vessels. If this buildup can be removed, it can actually help hair growth by allowing more nutrients to get to your hair follicles.
Many treatments for thinning hair involve doing something to increase the blood going to your scalp. These encourage hair growth by making sure your hair can get all the nutrients it needs.
Additionally, high blood pressure can cause many other problems, like coronary artery disease and/or coronary heart disease. Coronary artery disease, in turn, can cause a heart attack and other more serious side effects. Aside from being deadly, these put stress on your body, which can cause hair loss.
So, taking care of your blood pressure deals with these medical issues from the root. This means that taking amlodipine can prevent or assist with hair loss caused by high blood pressure.
What To Do About Amlodipine Causing Hair Loss
It is important to control your blood pressure, so you shouldn’t stop taking amlodipine just because it is causing hair loss. As mentioned, the only reason you should stop this blood pressure treatment immediately is if it is causing chest pain or you have a severe allergic reaction to it.
In these cases, you should seek medical attention and call your doctor immediately. However, any noticeable side effect you experience while taking amlodipine can and should be talked about with a healthcare professional.
Talk To Your Doctor About Other Options
Your primary physician may be able to help you get lower blood pressure in a way that doesn’t cause hair loss. Though almost all blood pressure meds have the potential to cause hair thinning, you may be able to talk to a naturopathic doctor about a natural remedy or diet.
If your doctor says that amlodipine is the best blood pressure treatment for you, they may not want to try other medications that won’t work as well for you.
Even if taking amlodipine is the only option, however, they may be able to offer professional medical advice about how to counteract the adverse effects on your hair.
Avoid High Blood Pressure
The best way to avoid hair loss caused by amlodipine is to stay healthy. If you can avoid getting blood pressure problems, your doctor will have no reason to prescribe amlodipine to you. You can do this by:
taking care of your immune system
avoiding weight gain
consuming healthy foods
getting enough Vitamin D from sunlight
getting enough exercise
getting rid of bad habits like smoking and drinking
There are also herbal supplements and vitamins that can help heart health and that may help prevent blood pressure problems. Many of these same things can help prevent hair loss as well.
Take Care Of Your Hair
There are too many ways to take care of your hair to list them all. There are also many hair products specifically for hair loss. External hair loss treatments include shampoos, conditioners, serums, hair masks, and even certain drugs like topical minoxidil.
Internally, there are fewer options. You can take hair supplements, drink herbal teas, or take a prescription drug that is meant to treat hair loss. If your doctor clears it, you may be able to take hair loss supplements that have calcium in them. However, this requires caution, as you shouldn’t take calcium at the same time as a calcium blocker.
Other than that, you can give your hair extra care by simply not pulling it into tight hairstyles, using fewer styling products on it, and protecting it from chemicals.
The chemicals in swimming pools, for example, should be washed off your hair as soon as possible. A swim cap is also a good idea to protect your hair from chlorine.
Will Hair Grow Back After Stopping Amlodipine?
Most drugs cause temporary hair loss that grows back on its own as soon as you stop taking the medication causing it.
Since amlodipine is most likely causing your hair loss simply by preventing your follicles from getting enough calcium, as soon as you stop taking it, your hair should resume growing.
If you’ve been taking amlodipine for years, this may be long enough for your hair follicles to die. Once dead, there will be no new hair follicles to replace them. So, your hair loss is permanent if left untreated for too long.
Everyone wants thick hair, but hair loss is practically unavoidable for some people. This does not mean you should give up, though, as there are many things you can do for your hair to help it grow, even if you are taking amlodipine.
Are you taking amlodipine? Is it making you lose hair or causing any other side effects? Were you able to find anything to help your hair? Please let me know!