Hair Loss from Topamax? Recommendations for Battling Topirimate Side-Effects

December 25th, 2017

Topamax and Hair Loss

 

Does Topamax cause hairloss?


Topical Treatments and Nutritional Options

Discover What’s Working for Others

If you search online for “Topamax and Hair Loss” you will find many posts from people struggling with this problem and seeking advice. Just why and how Topamax causes hair loss for some users is not known, but more and more users are reporting this side-effect.

The NIH (U.S. National Institutes of Health) list hair loss as a side-effect of Topamax.  Topiramate is an anti-seizure drug taken to help prevent migraines. It can cause mild-moderate to serious side effects that may include abnormal sensations (often tingling), fatigue, nausea, changes in taste, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss. More severe side effects can occur, including difficulty with thinking and concentration.

Topiramate -additional side effects (see bottom of page for MedlinePlus list).

Topiramate may cause osteoporosis (a condition in which bones can break more easily) in adults and rickets (abnormal, curved bone growth) in children. Topiramate may also slow the growth of children and may decrease the final height that children reach. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking topiramate.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Two Tactics for Combating Hair Loss:

From the inside (nutritionally) and from the outside (topical treatments)

TOPICAL TREATMENTS
Some people have had success with the following products when applied to hair and scalp.

Nioxin shampoo and products for thinning hair – Often recommended for cancer patients who lose their hair due to chemotherapy, Nioxin can be found in many retail stores, beauty supply stores and online.

Oil Mixtures  – The scalp contains glands which produce sebum, the skin’s natural oil.  The oil that the scalp produces is light and only keeps the skin lubricated and the hair waterproof.  Hair washings, wind exposure, and dead skin strips away natural causing frizziness, dry, itchy, flaky scalp and hair loss.  All of these can also lead to lack of hair growth.  Oil mixtures can be an all-natural solution for hair loss.  Here are some hair growth options:

Ginger Ginger Root & Coconut Oil for Stimulating Hair Regrowth – Purchase fresh ginger root from the produce department of your grocery store and a jar of coconut oil.  It will be solid but easily melts at warm temperatures or when heated.

Preparation:  Peel and slice ginger into small pieces to fit in a blender or food processor.  Blend to a pulp (do not add water) and then place the ball of pulp on a thick towel, wrap and squeeze the juice into a bowl.  Melt the coconut oil by placing it in a small bowl and then placing the bottom of the small bowl into a larger bowl filled with hot water.  Never microwave the oil or it will destroy the beneficial properties.  Add the squeezed ginger juice to the coconut oil and mix with a spoon.  You may put this concoction in a plastic or glass jar, bowl or bottle for storage. Glass is best as you can place it in warm/hot water to melt each time you want to use it.   If you store it in a bottle with a dropper it is easy to apply with the dropper to you scalp.

May purchase bottle and dropper at Whole Foods Market or other stores.

You can also use a small paint brush or drizzle it on with your fingers.  Massage into your scalp.  You can tie up your hair or pin it back while the mixture stays on your scalp for  at least 2 hours before washing it off with cold water.  Shampoo and condition as normal.    You may also use it before bedtime, put a plastic shower cap on your head or lay your head on a towel when you sleep due to the slight oiliness.  You can wash out in the morning with your regular shampoo.  The great properties of ginger and coconut oil will nourish your hair, prevent breakage and stimulate hair growth. Use it regularly at least 3 times a week if  you have hair loss problems and don’t just want to stimulate your hair follicles, prevent dandruff and keep your hair nourished.  Here is a great online video with step by step instructions.  Ginger Root Coconut Oil Treatment Video.

ESSENTIAL OIL TREATMENTS – Essential oils are highly concentrated botanical extracts.  Often, it takes several pounds of a single plant to make one essential oil bottle, which means that these liquids are incredibly potent and should always be mixed with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, grapeseed oil or even olive oil.

Rosemary Essential Oil
(herb) – Using rosemary oil for hair loss is one of the most effective, natural solutions.  Although it’s not clear how rosemary works for hair loss, applying it to the scalp stimulates the skin and increases blood circulation.   In addition to stimulating circulation, rosemary essential oil destroys any bacteria that could clog hair follicles.

Note: Never use essential oils full strength, directly on the skin.  Dilute with a carrier oil (jojoba, grapeseed, olive oil etc. – (3 tsp of carrier oil to 10 drops rosemary essential oil).

Rosemary for Daily Use – You may also use rosemary oil for hair loss on a daily basis through scalp massage and with daily shampooing. For a daily massage to stimulate new growth, add two drops of rosemary oil to one ounce of jojoba oil. Rub into the scalp for three minutes in the morning before showering. Another tip for nourishing your hair on a daily basis is to add rosemary to your shampoo or conditioner. Use one drop of oil for every four ounces of shampoo or conditioner. For hair loss, rosemary essential oil blends well with lavender, sage or peppermint. If blending, use half rosemary essential oil and half of your choice of another oil.

Hot Oil Hair Treatment – Once a week use a hot oil treatment for your hair and scalp. Combine 5 drops of rosemary essential oil with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a small jar with a lid.  Warm the oil-rosemary solution by placing the jar in a bowl of  hot water (recently boiled) the oil is warm.  Comb through damp hair. Wrap a bath towel around your head to keep in the heat and let stand for 20 minutes or more.  The rosemary treatment and heat will increase circulation to the scalp and you should see an improvement with hair growth

Lavender & Other Essential Oils for Hair Growth –  This is a treatment that has been recommended for people with Alopecia areata (a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which is where hair growth begins).  This essential oil blend includes lavender, thyme, rosemary, cedarwood, plus the carrier oils jojoba and grape-seed (a carrier oil dilutes the essential oils and aids in the delivery of their healing properties without irritation).

To make an essential oil blend, mix the following:
3 drops of lavender oil
3 drops of rosemary oil
2 drops of thyme oil
2 drops of cedarwood oil
4 tsp. of grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp of jojoba oil

Mix the oils well before massaging the oil into your scalp. Apply to a small patch of your scalp before putting it on your entire scalp, to see how your skin reacts. If you do not have a negative reaction, massage the mixture into your scalp five minutes, being sure to cover bald or thinning spots. If the lavender oil becomes overwhelming to your senses, add a little more of one of the carrier oils (grapeseed, jojoba or even olive oil) to further dilute the mixture. Try not to dilute the oil too much, though, because you may lose the benefit. After you’re done, cover your hair with a towel. It’s suggested, that to see the best results, one should do this routinely for at least seven months. Apply before bed, and wash your hair in the morning.

NUTRITIONAL OPTIONS
Many people experience improvement (with hair loss AND migraines) with dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals & herbs)

Biotin – is a member of the B-vitamin family known as Vitamin B7 and helps with cell growth and blood sugar maintenance. It has been proven to help hair grow stronger and longer and it also helps strengthen your nails. It has even been shown to reverse premature graying.  It is especially important to the skin cells as they are frequently replaced due to their exposure to the outside environment. Biotin also protects the nervous system, preventing seizures, ataxia and loss of muscle tone.

Biotin is great for stress because it’s an important component of the nerves. Stress can cause hair loss so adding biotin to the diet gives protection both to the hair follicles and to the nerves that support their proper function. Check the supplement bottle for recommended dosage.  Many people start with 1,000 mcg. for hair loss  with a possibility of increasing up to 5,000 if they are not experiencing success at a lower dose.

Topamax and MigreLief

We often receive emails from patients informing us that MigreLief was recommended to them in combination with Topamax.  Although we have no knowledge of MigreLief helping with hair loss specifically, MigreLief has been reported to work well with Topamax in the reduction of side-effects in some users.

The MigreLief Nutritional Regimen – Effective Nutritional Option Without the Hair Loss

Action step 1:  Choose a daily maintenance supplement below, and take one caplet twice a day, every day.
Action step 2:  Take MigreLief-Now fast acting formula as-needed for on-the-spot neurological comfort (age 2-adult)

MigreLief Original – Daily nutritional support for teens and adults with migraines
Children’s MigreLief – Daily nutritional support for kids age 2-12 with migraines
MigreLief+M – Daily nutritional support for women with hormonal/menstrual migraines

Note:  MigreLief+M contains the same triple therapy as Original MigreLief + 5 additional ingredients that help balance hormone and blood sugar fluctuations (well known migraine triggers).

MigreLief-NOW (fast-acting) on-the-spot nutritional support for cerebrovascular comfort (age 2-adult).  Ingredients (Cereasc® Ginger, Boswellia Serrata, Magnesium (oxide & citrate) and Puracol® Feverfew)

MigreLief daily formulas work by helping a migraine sufferer to maintain the normal cerebrovascular (blood vessels in the brain) tone and function he or she enjoys on migraine-free days.  It also promotes healthy mitochondrial energy reserves (powerhouses of brain cells) which have been known to be depleted in migraineurs just before a migraine attack.

Although many people experience benefits in as little as 3 weeks, MigreLief  (Original, Children’s or +M) should be taken for 90 days to achieve maximum effectiveness.  During this build-up period, MigreLief-NOW may be kept on hand at all times and taken “as-needed for neurological comfort.”

Migraine Relief


MORE CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS
In addition to medications, the following can also lead to hair loss:

  • Hormonal changes, including menopause
  • Increased production of DHT, a form of testosterone
  • Stress
  • Alopecia, or pattern baldness
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Thyroid issues, especially in regards to an iodine deficiency
  • Illness and medication

Whether you have long or short hair, you probably lose a few strands every day while sleeping, showering, and combing your hair. That’s completely normal. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists, most people lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. But when you are shedding more than a few strands, or you start seeing bald spots around your head, it can be a side effect of a medication you may be taking.

Drug-induced alopecia is a type of hair loss triggered by medications. In most cases, drug-induced hair loss is temporary and reversible, meaning that your hair can grow back once you change the dose or stop taking the medication.

Why do medications trigger hair loss?
There are three distinct phases in the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen, and telogen.

Anagen Phase
During the anagen phase, hair-forming cells grow and divide rapidly, pushing older cells upward from the root towards the surface. The anagen phase lasts between one and three years, and about 85% of all hair follicles are at this stage at any given moment.

Catagen Phase
Also known as the transitional phase, this is a short period in which your hair follicles receive signals that indicate that the hair should stop growing. This phase lasts a couple of weeks, and about one percent of all follicles are at the catagen phase at any given moment.

Telogen Phase
Telogen effluvium is the most common form of drug-induced hair loss. It usually appears within 2 to 4 months after taking the drug. This condition causes the hair follicles to go into their resting phase (telogen) and fall out too early. People with telogen effluvium usually shed between 30% to 70% more than the normal 100 and 150 hairs a day. At this final stage, the mature hair is no longer growing, so it eventually detaches itself from the hair follicle. The telogen phase is often referred to as the resting phase, and it lasts about three months. After the hair has stopped growing, it will eventually once the hair falls out, a new anagen stage begins again. About 10% of your hair follicles are at the telogen phase at any given moment.

Medications can trigger hair loss by disrupting the anagen phase by preventing new hairs from being formed, or the telogen phase by making the hair follicles enter the resting phase and falling off too early.

What types of medications can cause drug-induced alopecia?

Antibiotics
Anticonvulsants (example: Topamax)- Topamax / Patient/Info-Forums)
Antidepressants and mood stabilizers (including Prozac and Zoloft)
Birth control pills
Blood pressure medications
Chemotherapy drugs
Cholesterol-lowering drugs
Hormone replacement therapy
Immunosuppressants
Prescription anti-inflammatories
Retinoids (acne medications with vitamin A)
Some OTC and prescription antacids

How is drug-induced alopecia treated?
If you think you are experiencing drug-induced hair loss, talk to your doctor, or pharmacist about adjusting your doses or switching to a different medication. The best way for treating medication-induced hair loss is, where possible, stop taking the medication that’s causing it. Once you discontinue using the drug, it can take up to six months to stop shedding hairs and three to twelve months to see new growth.

Sometimes, changing or stopping medications may not be an option. In those cases, some prescription medications or topical treatments might help. Other options include hair transplant surgery, laser, and light therapy.

For hair loss in general, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will promote hair growth. Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep to regenerate cells and promote overall health is very important.  Foods rich in iron, vitamin A & D are known for supporting healthy hair;  spinach, bok-choy, carrots, sweet-potatoes, nuts, fish, chicken, and blueberries, to name a few, all will contribute to healthier hair.  Staying well hydrated while avoiding stress and other well known migraine triggers is key for migraine control as well.

Follow the links below to additional online  forums discussing hair loss and Topamax.  Visit MigreLief.com for more information.

Can Topamax Cause Alopecia?  – 2015 study

Topirimate (Topamax) and Severe Hair Loss

Topamax and hair loss suggestions? – MDJunction 

  • UPDATE (WebMD removed this post:
    www.mdjunctiohttp://www.mdjunction.com/forums/migraine-headaches-discussions/general-support/1002723-topamax-and-hair-loss-suggestionsn.com/forums/migraine-headaches-discussions/general-support/10… I have been on 75mg of topamax for the past 8 months. I lost around 12 lbs. but I’ ve noticed that my hair has been falling out.  I take many 
  • Hair loss and Topamax – Weight Loss Alternatives – MedHelp

    www.medhelp.org/posts/Weight-Loss-Alternatives/Hair-loss-and-To… – Similar to Hair loss and Topamax – Weight Loss Alternatives – MedHelp Sep 4, 2006  I have been prescribed Wellbutrin for depression and Topamax as a mood stabilizer. The combination worked very well for me and the bonus 

  • Topamax: Topamax and Hair Loss

    topamax.livejournal.com/29337.html Apr 4, 2007 Topamax and Hair Loss. Greetings! My rheumatologist put me on 200 mg Topamax for fibromyalgia. I was on 100 mg topamax for migraines, 

Is “Hair Loss” Even Listed as a Side Effect?!

It’s always good to read the warnings regarding side-effects before starting a new drug. However, many people have stated that hair-loss is not listed as a side-effect of Topamax.  It doesn’t appear that hair loss is mentioned anywhere, confirming the frustration of so many migraine sufferers – they didn’t expect it, making it all the more aggravating.  But if you take a closer look – the hair loss information may be there, but in disguise, referred to as Alopecia.

According to the official Topamax website, the common side-effects are numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, fatigue, taste change (food and drink tastes different), difficulty with concentration and difficulty with memory.  Hair loss is not mentioned.  Serious Topamax side-effects are described in the manufacturers Important Safety Information section.

MedlinePlus, an informative drug database and service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health provides a lot of information, but does not seem to mention anything about hair loss.

Topamax and Hair Loss – What Can You Do?

Visiting online forums is a good way to read the stories of others who are experiencing the same dilemma and discover what is or isn’t working.  Nutritional options and remedies are also shared. You’ll see that users share their frustration about their hair loss from Topamax, and about being uninformed of this side-effect …with a few people stating it could take a year for hair to grow back once stopping Topamax. However, there are many who are experiencing regrowth as they supplement their nutritional deficiencies, and others who benefit from the information provided in the Hair Loss Black Book, and the Women’s Hair Loss Project is also another resource.

Additional Information:
MedlinePlus (U.S. NIH National Library of Medicine) Topirimate Info & List of Side-effects

Topiramate may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • slowed reactions
  • nervousness
  • headache
  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • uncontrollable eye movements
  • weight loss
  • constipation
  • heartburn
  • change in ability to taste food
  • dry mouth
  • nosebleed
  • teary or dry eyes
  • back, muscle, leg, or bone pain
  • missed menstrual periods
  • excessive menstrual bleeding

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:

  • blurred vision
  • loss of vision
  • double vision
  • eye pain
  • eye redness
  • worsening of seizures
  • feeling cold, chills, or low body temperature
  • difficulty concentrating
  • speech problems, especially difficulty thinking of specific words
  • confusion
  • memory problems
  • loss of coordination
  • pounding or irregular heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble breathing
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • inability to respond to things around you
  • excessive tiredness
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • loss of appetite
  • intense back or side pain
  • bloody, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
  • constant need to urinate
  • difficulty urinating or pain when urinating
  • fever or other signs of infection

Topiramate may cause osteoporosis (a condition in which bones can break more easily) in adults and rickets (abnormal, curved bone growth) in children. Topiramate may also slow the growth of children and may decrease the final height that children reach. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking Topiramate.

Topiramate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).