Does Gabapentin Cause Hair Loss?
Gabapentin can be classified under anticonvulsant drugs and its function is to stop epilepsy. It is used together with other drugs to treat seizures in both adult and children. Gabapentin works by affecting the electrical and chemical activities in the brain and nerves that cause seizures and pains. Gabapentin also helps to reduce the number of times these seizures occur. There are many brands like Gralise, Horizant, Neurontin. The Neurontin brand can be administered to even children less than 3 years.
The drug can also be used to treat shingles – a viral infection that causes rashes to appear on your body, this same virus causes chickenpox. This shingles or herpes virus can cause neuropathic pain.
According to one 2017 review, oral gabapentin can reduce moderate or severe nerve pain that results from shingles or diabetes at a minimum daily dosage of 1,200 milligrams.
Extended-release gabapentin (Horizant) tablets can treat RLS, which is a condition characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs and a strong or irresistible urge to move the lower limbs. A 2016 study also suggests that gabapentin combined with oxycontin, which is an opioid pain reliever, can help control pain and increase the quality of life for people with severe cancer pain. However, doctors do not typically prescribe gabapentin for this purpose.
SIDE EFFECTS OF GABAPENTIN
Gabapentin has some side effects in about 10% of people who use it. Some of the side effects are :
- Constipation or stomach upset
- Swelling of the hands, feet, legs etc.
- Back pain
- Increase in weight
- Large appetite
- Blurry vision
- Anxiety, depression and constant change in mood
- Fever and chills
- Cold or cold like symptoms
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Mouth ulcer
- Dry mouth even after taking water or any other liquid
- Urinary problems
- Memory loss
- Sore throat
- Uncontrollable eye rolling
Symptoms that can be seen in children can be
- Low performance in school
- Low concentration span
- Changes in behavior
It is advisable to talk to a doctor first before taking gabapentin and if you experience any of the symptoms above, your doctor will tell you if you are to discontinue.Also, you should be careful of wrong doses.
Pregnant women are not advised to take gabapentin as it can lead to cardiac malfunction in the fetus. But if seizure occur when pregnant, it might be recommended to control it.
DOES GABAPENTIN CAUSE HAIR LOSS??
One of the effects of gabapentin is that it can induce hair loss. Some drugs can induce alopecia or hair loss. There are indications that hair loss could be a side effect of gabapentin use. The articles of both 2009 and 2011 suggest that hair loss might be a lasting effect of gabapentin treatment. A 2015 study showed that one of the side effects of antiepileptic drugs is hair loss.
A 2009 letter in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management wrote about a patient’s experience with gabapentin for a “burning sensation.” After a week of taking gabapentin, she started experiencing significant hair loss (patchy alopecia), which was her concern more than the burning sensation.
In a 2011 article on gabapentin and hair loss, researchers stated that “… hair loss might be a lasting effect of [gabapentin] treatment, though not listed by the company.” This article was written nearly 17 years after the medication was first released into the market.
A 2015 study also showed that a side effect of antiepileptic drugs is hair loss. Hair loss can occur in the frontal and edges region. Another reason why gabapentin is considered to cause hair loss is because drugs like carbamazepine, hydantoin, and valproic acid which are also antiepileptic.
The hair loss can be experienced one week after starting to use the drug and it may stop within a short period of time during treatment. The good news is that researchers of the 2009 letter reported hair growth after Neurontin use.
Continuous use of the drug even after experiencing hair loss will lead to growing back of your hair. The length of time it will take for the hair to regrow depends on the individual. If you are not comfortable with the hair loss, you can continue using the medicine.
TREATMENT FOR GABAPENTIN-INDUCED HAIR LOSS
The hair loss is only temporary if it is caused by gabapentin. You can continue with the medication if that is the only side effect you experience. You can also use hair products that stimulate your hair to grow but they should be certified by your doctor before usage. Before using another medication with gabapentin, be sure your doctor is aware as there as risk of interaction with others drugs.
You can also consider a micro pigmentation on your scalp. This is a cosmetic procedure where small amounts of artificial pigments are used to add density to the hair and make it look like your hair follicles.
Eating food rich in omega-3 and omega-6 can also help your grow and become thick. Supplements can also be infused to provide the body with the necessary nutrients needed to regrow your hair.
Gabapentin is only prescribed to treat seizures and stop neuropathic pains. It can be used in both adults and children. There are different brands, you should see your doctor to know the best for you.
Side effects can be experienced when taking this drug ranging from constipation, pain, diarrhea, dizziness, weakness, memory loss, hyperactivity among other.
Hair loss can also be noticed. If you notice your hair falling off because of gabapentin usage, you should know that your hair will regrow later although the there is no fixed time. Apart from hair loss, if there are no other effects, you can continue taking the drug while eating foods rich in nutrients that grow hair.