How can I tell if my recent hair loss is natural or a medication side effect?
June 14, 2009 7:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm a mid-20s male who recently noticed some hair loss around the time I stopped taking the anti-depressant Remeron. Some online research tells me that hair loss is a fairly rare but not unheard-of side effect of this medication. How can I tell if my hair loss is actually from the medication, and how long does it typically take to start seeing new hair growth after stopping such a medication?

I was on Remeron (mirtazapine) for approximately one month, taking 30mg once per day. I stopped taking it altogether approximately two months ago. It was around that same time that I began to notice the hair loss, which seems isolated to the center-front part of my scalp. It appears to have gotten a little worse since then, and I haven't see any new growth as of today. It's probably not too noticeable to most people who see me, but I have to style it fairly carefully to achieve that.

Prior to this, I only had some fairly minor thinning on the back crown area of my scalp, which seems unchanged at this time.

As a result, I'm unsure if the hair loss in the front is due to the medication or the onset of male pattern baldness. Of course, I could wait another few months and see what happens, but I intend to be more proactive than that. And please, no suggestions of shaving it all off or just accepting it - that's not what I'm asking about at this time.

My main questions are:

1. Is it normal for medication to cause hair loss in one isolated area, rather than all over?

2. How long does it usually take to start seeing new growth after stopping a medication that caused hair loss?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (2 answers total)
This is not the answer to your question, but Proscar, the generic version of Propecia, works out to about $2.50 a month once you split the pills down to the correct size, so if you do find that the hair loss is unrelated to your recent medication changes, don't let the $60/month price tag on propecia scare you into accepting baldness.
posted by tumbleweedjack at 9:26 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

don't let the $60/month price tag on propecia scare you into accepting baldness.

No, you should probably let the side effects of Finasteride (aka Propecia, Proscar) do that for you - specifically the possible link between Finasteride and depression
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:43 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

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