Log in
AF Association
17,118 members20,217 posts

Hair Loss and Anticoagulants

My beautiful thick hair seems to be getting thinner every week. When I wash it I have heaps of hair on my hands and there is hair all over the bathroom floor and sink when I brush or blow dry it. My hairdresser has noticed the difference too. I believe the hair loss is linked to my medication and in particular the anticoagulant (I’m on Rivaroxiban).

I emailed a pharmacist/medical herbalist who is on the radio and tv here in Australia about it. He has been a wonderful support over the past year and has made a number of recommendations about vitamins and supplements and has answered all my queries about drug interactions. Anyway he believes the stress my body has been under is also contributing to the hair loss and has recommended this particular multivitamin with breakfast each day.

swisse.com/en-us/products/v...

Coincidentally I was listening to a radio segment with a local dietician and nutritionist yesterday and a lady rang in and asked about hair loss and medication. The expert recommended selenium and the best source is Brazil nuts - 4-5 nuts a day so I bought a big bag today.

65 Replies
oldestnewest

Thanks for the tip. I'm on apixiban - ok so far but only started in March. My EP plans to take me off in 4months so I may be ok.

Nuts have lots of health benefits and as a veggie I eat them daily. I hope your hair responds, esp if you have lovely thick hair. I know my sister found it difficult adjusting to the hair loss and thinness following her cancer treatment. She's off all meds now. I'll tell her about your advice too.

Amanda

1 like
Reply

Hi Amanda - I eat nuts everyday too - almonds, walnuts, macadamias and cashews. I’m now adding Brazil nuts to the mix 😃. I eat a lot of seeds too - hemp, chia, sunflower, pepitas, etc. My husband used to complain about me feeding him birdseed but now he loves it.

Hopefully this advice helps your sister and others too.

3 likes
Reply

Sadly our soils are depleted from minerals these days. You won't get much help from Brazil nuts unless they specifically say on the packet that they are grown on selenium rich ground. If not, you'd be better off with a supplement. I use a liquid to help with my thyroid. 1 drop a day.

2 likes
Reply

I lost copious amounts of hair when I was started on a beta blocker, atenolol. It came out at the roots where new hair was growing. The basin and bath was full of it. Never regained it unfortunately.

1 like
Reply

Interesting, I’m on Atenolol- I started on that in October or November.

Reply

At that time the only drug I took was atenolol so I am certain it was the cause in my case. X

1 like
Reply

Just remember you shouldn’t take more than 3-4 Brazil nuts a day. Selenium is also found in Mussels.

Interestingly my hair has thickened & is growing at a terrific rate which my hairdresser has noticed. I’ve put that down to Nutrition + all conditions are generally much better managed.

My hairdresser also told me that we go through cycles of hair growth & abundance followed by hair loss in about 7 year cycles, age, general health, stress, Nutrition as well as meds will all affect hair loss and growth.

2 likes
Reply

I too suffer from massive hair loss. Before I started all these medications I had a wonderful full head of hair. Now daily loss and my barber also comments on how much hair I have lost. Unfortunately, I can't pin it down on any one medication as I take Xarelto, Metoprolol, lisinopril, ampolodine, and flecainide. My barber thinks it's the Xarelto. Who knows? Bad enough the medicine makes you feel terrible without this problem added on.

1 like
Reply

I've only been on Sotolol and Rivaroxaban for 8 months and my hair is falling out like crazy. I think also because I have a GI bleed that my body is in a stressed state.

1 like
Reply

I was on Sotalol for a year or so before starting on anticoagulants and I had no dramas then. It was only when I started on the Rivaroxiban that I noticed the hair coming out. Meadfoot mentioned Atenolol which I’m also on now so perhaps that’s also contributing or perhaps it is just stress on the body.

1 like
Reply

I suffer from terrible hair loss. It started when I was put on Apixaban then Dabigatran and I am now on Rivaroxaban. I think that all anticoagulants cause this in some people. I have spent a fortune on various hair products, but none have helped.

3 likes
Reply

I have been on on anticoags now for almost 20 years and also suffered hair loss so thank you for your information.

1 like
Reply

Thank you so much for this post. I take Rivaroxaban, Multaq and bisoprolol and I too have suffered significant hair loss, particularly at the front of my head along the hairline. I’ve been using Regaine for about six months and although I havent noticed a difference in the thickness, I haven’t noticed the hair actually falling out. However, my fringe never seems to grow! I have got used to it, but I would love my shiny thick locks back again. Unfortunately, the rivaroxaban is here to stay, even if my (hopefully) imminent cardioversion is successful. I try to eat healthily and take supplements which will now include Brazil nuts. Thank you x

1 like
Reply

I put a post up a few weeks ago about hair loss I'm on warfarin I take a selenium supplement everyday for graves disease and have done since November 2018. I only started to notice hair loss in march, I spoke to my cardiologist about it and he blamed my thyroid but I do think it's the warfarin as my thyroid is responding well to treatment and my tablets have been reduced 30mg in the last 6 weeks but warfarin remains 9mg.

3 likes
Reply

Within two weeks of taking Apixaban my hair started fallling out dramatically. I was devastated. It settled down after about 6 months but then started falling out again after i lost weight, I guess there was more Apixaban circulating for my body weight. I halved my dosage three months ago and stopped taking it altogether 5weeks ago. My hair is starting to grow again :o)

2 likes
Reply

The answer to hair loss is Biotin 5000mg a day it doesn't interact with any meds

I take warfarin and metoprolol I would also suggest multi b vitamins as well and 1 Brazil nut gives you all the selenium you need biotin available on i herb.com

1 like
Reply

Thanks I’ll check it out. I do take multi B everyday.

Reply

My clinic anticoagulant team (pharmacists) told me I couldn't continue taking biotin with apixoban because biotin acts as an anticoagulant!

Reply

Well that's not what ive been told, it has been cleared by my pharmacist as safe to take with all my meds ,I don't take anything that hasn't been cleared by my pharmacist if your worried start on a lower dose it is after all a B vitamin that will be excreted if you have too much.

thyroid is worth checking but wasn't the problem in my case though it is for some also biotin also improves your nails if they are prone to weakness

1 like
Reply

Maybe don't just assume it's the medication and get your thyroid checked? Certainly the culprit in my case.

1 like
Reply

Thanks - I have had my thyroid checked recently and that is fine. The body sure is complex 😃

Reply

You say your thyroid is fine. On what do you base this? Are you accepting your doctor telling you it is ok or have you seen the actual figures? Do you know what was tested ? Just TSH or the Free T s ? Just because your TSH was within range does NOT mean your thyroid is fine. A TSH near the top of the range can cause significant symptoms for some people. My TSH never climbed above 7.5 but long before whilst it was still in range I had hair loss. Look at the outer third of your eyebrows. Loss there is a sign of hypothyroidism that most docs are never taught . In fact there is so much reliance on these blood tests that most doctors have no idea of the subtle clinical signs of hyoothyroidism. And so much rigid adherence to them that lots of people ( mainly women) -never get the treatment they would benefit from.

2 likes
Reply

I have a print out of all my test results. I had absolutely everything checked so I have 4 or 5 pages of results. Everything to do with the thyroid was well within the range, in fact I looked amazingly healthy apart from a high reading with one of the liver function tests caused by Amiodarone which I was then taken off (I was only on that for a few weeks).

Reply

Amiodarone used to be used for people with overactive thyroids. It depresses thyroid activity.

1 like
Reply

I know Amiodarone causes damage to the thyroid in a lot of people. It was a ‘last resort’ drug to settle my heart and it helped with that. Thankfully I was only on it for a few weeks.

Reply

What am I looking for in outer third of eyebrows?

Reply

Absence.

Reply

I always thought that when you lost your eyebrows on the outer third that that was due to adrenal insufficiency. I’ve never heard that it has to do with hypothyroidism

Reply

It is listed as a sign on many thyroid websites. A friend of mine was not diagnosed with hypothyroidism till her TSH was over 100! She lost a lot of head hair , eyebrows and all her body hair. Her legs were so swollen she could hardly walk and her cretinous GP kept saying it was the menopause. Luckily the GP was sacked ( probably for incompetence) . Luckily the replacement had learned the clinical signs of hypo , and the moment she opened her mouth and he heard her hoarse voice said " I'm pretty sure I know what's wrong with you " and sent her for thyroid blood tests.

Reply

I have been on apixaban since May 2018 and I have not had any hair loss at all.

1 like
Reply

Interesting . My thick hair is not looking good . I am on Rivaraxaban too!

1 like
Reply

I can’t say my hair was ever really thick, but I too have suffered hair loss due to thyroid issues and now the combination of meds. Bisoprolol, warfarin and flecainide currently. It is so sad to leave lengths in the comb or the shower! I try to keep it a bit shorter, regularly cut, and eat healthily. Including some nuts. Things have settled. It did get worse when I wasn’t on quite enough levothyrixine. I have had my thyroid removed. The body is very complex, tiny imbalances do affect it. It’s often never just one thing. But it is hard to feel positive sometimes due to these side effects. I try to stay positive and know it would be physically worse without the meds. Trying to get the dose as close to ideal often helps. I do hope your hair stabilises and some of the ideas work for you. The loss does seem to slow down after the initial reaction.

1 like
Reply

I've not noticed hair loss, but have heard apixaban be related to hair loss before. I have got a few grey hairs coming in the last few years - though I suspect this is probably due to children.

1 like
Reply

My hair has thinned a lot although I was fortunate to have very thick hair to start with. A few months ago I was advised by someone who lost her hair with cancer to try Olaplex. I only use No. 3 and it's not cheap but it does work. My hair is looking healthier than it has since all the meds. were introduced.

I no longer leave a trail of hair behind me.

My brushes don't need clearing after every use.

It was so bad at one point that we purchased a vacuum cleaner recommended for users with pets which we now don't need to use.

I can't guarantee that it will work for everyone but I know that I was prepared to try anything.

2 likes
Reply

Thanks Patsy I’ll have a look

Reply

I too was having hair loss on anti-coagulants (Rivaroxaban then latterly Apixaban). However when I kept moaning to my GP he did a blood test and I was lacking in zinc. He gave me a 3 months course and thankfully although I am still losing a bit, it is not so bad. I did wonder if I needed more zinc, but with everything wrong I don't feel like going back to GP already. Worth a try for you. Good luck

2 likes
Reply

I don’t think I’ve had my Zinc levels checked but I eat a lot of high zinc food (I just googled the best foods and I eat everything on this list healthline.com/nutrition/be... Zinc is also in the multi vitamin I’ve been recommended to take so hopefully I’ll have Zinc covered.

Reply

Yes I thought I did as well as since Afib we have been having a healthy diet and a friend told me about zinc and looked it up and thought I had enough, but the blood test proved wrong. I do hope you will be OK, it's so awful to have not one but loads of thin bad hair days, let alone all the heart problems.

1 like
Reply

Next time I’m sent for a blood test I’ll ask my doctor if they can check the levels just in case.

Reply

👍 xx

1 like
Reply

My hair has thinned drastically too and I suspected Rivaroxaban but my hairdresser said it could have been the anasthetics (3 ablations and 1 attempted cardioversion) all done under GA. I have found that a caffein shampoo helped but was very wary of the caffein triggering an Afib episode.

1 like
Reply

I’ve had 5 general anaesthetics in the past 12 months so that could play a part too. My friend’s husband is an anaesthetist so I should ask him.

1 like
Reply

As well as many other side effects,I have also had hair loss while on Riveroxiban, even the texture feels different. In January I changed to Edoxaban with no side effects so far and feel that the hair loss has improved as have many of the other side effects I had with Riveroxiban.

1 like
Reply

I don’t think Edoxaban has been approved on our pharmaceutical scheme in Australia as yet.

Reply

It isn't covered here in Canada as far as cost goes but should be soon. However, I feel so much better on it that it's well worth the cost. The Riveroxiban was free but I felt so badly on it e.g. muscle and joint pain, swollen legs with terrible itchy rash, nausea and a significant amount of bleeding from back of throat (scary) Since stopping, nausea, bleeding,swollen legs and rash have gone and hopefully the hair loss will too.

1 like
Reply

Hi Kaz747

I'm quite new to AF, diagnosed in January, so not much experience. I don't suffer bad side effects easily. I've been on Clopidogrel since haaving a stent fitted 9 months ago, no problem.

When diagnosed with AF I was put on Rivaroxaban, I was ok for a month or so then I started getting joint, back and muscle aches. I Notice it easy as I do regular Gym work, that, as well as a report that I had read that Rivaroxaban causes Hair Loss decided me to come off Rivaroxaban when I started having aches and now I use APIXABAN. Just been taking it over a week but Muscles & Joints seem to have improved. Had some hair loss also with Rivaroxaban. The hair loss meant a lot to me also. Even though my hair is quite old hair I still value it a lot. I do understand that when you have Beautiful Hair, like you have, it must be awesome.

Hugh40

2 likes
Reply

Hi Hugh

It’s funny how we’re all different. I had dreadful side effects on Apixiban and Pradaxa but apart from the hair loss I’ve been ok on Rivaroxiban.

Reply

Hi Kaz747

Would you please give me some of the side effects you suffered when using Apixaban. As I've only been on them for just over a week maybe the side effects have not shown up yet.

Of course I realise we are all different and respond in different ways.

Regards

Hugo40

Reply

I was super cold and couldn’t stop shaking or get warm, even under the quilt in bed. My fingers and toes were like icicles and my body temperature was low. I had really bad pains in my upper back and chest and my blood pressure was all over the place - really low then spiking to very high. The first time when I was on it for 4 weeks after a cardioversion coincided with me having Shingles so I thought the symptoms were related to that. When my EP found a blood clot in my heart heart in August when they were about to do an ablation he put me back on Apixiban. That was on a Friday and on the Monday, after having the same symptoms (plus post menopausal bleeding) I was readmitted to hospital. My EP didn’t want me at home with a blood clot in my heart and labile blood pressure.

Reply

Thanks for that Kaz747. sorry you suffered so much.

Just come out of my longest 5 days of AF & anxiety, my Cardiologist is in Orlando with his family sent him Kardia ECG, even then he did Text me 3 times advised & reassured planned meds etc. Some wonderful people about not just on this board.

Back in normal Rhythm/Pulse & BP now thanks to everybody and the Gods.

No trace of bad side effects symptoms from APIXABAN, been on them for a week now, just hope it lasts.

Regards

Hugo40

1 like
Reply

It’s so unsettling to loose our hair. So sorry to hear that. One thing I wanted to mention is be careful not to eat too many Brazil nuts. They have a lot of selenium which can be highly toxic. 4-5 is plenty. You might want to do your own research as well about this. You take good care😊

1 like
Reply

Yes the nutritionist on the radio said no more than 4 or 5 Brazil nuts a day.

Reply

I lost tons of hair when I was on amiodarone, but I stopped taking it in December and my hair seems to be recovering. I'm on Eliquis - apixaban, but I don't think it has been a problem. Amiodarone can affect the thyroid, and my T3 has been low but is slowly getting back to normal.

2 likes
Reply

Thankfully I was only on Amiodarone for a few weeks and my thyroid was fine in my recent blood test. It did affect my liver function but I was told that the enzyme level should get back to normal fairly quickly with going off it. I guess I’ll know when I have my next blood test.

Reply

Thank you for posting this, My sister had the same problem with hair loss when taking riveroxaban. She reverted to taking warfarin which she has been on for a few years. I am now taking this drug so a little concerned about this however I seem to be okay. I shall buy the nuts though just as a precaution. Do you mind telling me which vitamins you were advised to take?

Regards R

1 like
Reply

The multivitamin I was recommended is Swisse Women’s Ultivite (the general one, not the over 50s). I also take Executive B (B group + magnesium), Magnesium and Tumeric (for osteoarthritis).

1 like
Reply

It may not be your anti-coagulant. Many heart and blood pressure medications can cause temporary or permanent hair loss. Check out this link.

webmd.com/skin-problems-and...

1 like
Reply

The only drug on that list I’m on is Atenolol but I haven’t been on that for long. That may be contributing but my hair was falling out prior to that. Hopefully when I see my EP in next month I may be able to reduce or come off the beta blocker.

1 like
Reply

That would be great for you , Wishing you great success

1 like
Reply

I am on Xeralto and I notice the same hair loss when I wash my hair brush it or blow dry . Hair dresser informed me hair tbis with age ( did not think I had reached that stage yet).Also said we shed 1000 hairs a day that is natural and may just notice more , I think it could be the stress from developing Afib and question whether it’s the blood thinner but was doing it when I was diagnosed in sept last year and was put in warfarin. I had surgery about 3 years ago and the same thing happened for about a year then quit, I was told it was body reacting to stress and would heal in time. I keep hoping that will be the case as well . I also love my crowning glory and find it hard to accept .

1 like
Reply

I’m only 54 so I’m hoping it slows down. Since my ablation a few weeks ago my AF has been really good so hopefully I’ll be able to come off some drugs soon.

Reply

I wish you all the best for the future. I have been advised to stay on the anti coagulants forever as I had a very tiny TIA last December. I am 62 & otherwise pretty fit & healthy. Apart from gaining about 3lbs in weight since starting the riveroxaban it seems to be suiting me. Here’s hoping that continues!

Regards R

1 like
Reply

I will probably be on anticoagulants forever too but I’m hoping to get off the other drugs.

1 like
Reply

I’m on the waiting list for ablation but it is a year long!! Ah well...........

As long as my risk of stroke is reduced & managed I can handle that.

1 like
Reply

That’s such a long time to have to wait. Take care x

1 like
Reply

You may also like...