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SSRI & Hair Loss: I'm finding some answers

Discussion in 'Medications that can cause Hair Loss' started by Kat, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Kat

    Kat Guest

    Hi, everyone,

    I have some new information to report. I've been reading about thyroid issues, since hair loss is a common symptom of a thyroid problem. I've been absorbing so much information over the last few months, and so much of it is scientifically over my head that I haven't always known what to do with it, but things are starting to fall into a pattern for me so I thought I'd share in hopes that it can help any of you who have hairloss from an SSRI.

    I found a book called "The Thyroid Solution" by a Dr. Arem Ridha, a researcher and practicing endocrinologist. The book is a little dated (1999)when it comes to the discussion of SSRIs, but with the info I found in this book and a simple Google search I found some interesting info.

    It seems that Paxil accelerates your body's metabolism of the thyroid hormone that your body produces. (Found this online by Googling the words paxil and thyroid.) This would cause your body to become hypothyroid, meaning you have too little hormone for your body and mind to be at its best. Hair loss is a symptom of hypothyroidism.


    I had my thyroid tested and it came back normal (need to get the numbers from my doctor b/c it's common to be borderline and have severe symptoms). UPDATE: After I was on Paxil, I had a blood work up that said my TSH was .99, which would indicate borderline HYPERthyroid. This is more in line with my anxiety problems so I shouldn't be suprised, but I thought I was HYPOthyroid, at least due to the increased metabolic factor of Paxil. A good lesson as to why it's good to get the labs so you have that info to work with. I'm going to get tested again in about a month to see where I am now. ALSO: My ferritin as 14!! She called that normal! Yikes. Should be 70-100.

    Anyway, I still suspect my throid is a problem. I suspect that since I am post-partum (20 mos) and have a history of both elation and depression and anxiety, and because of a family history, that I've had thryoid problems on and off for years. In fact, I probably never needed Paxil, but rather a thyroid treatment.

    I am also happy to report that my shed seems to be over! :D I don't have significant hair loss in the AM when I brush like I was having. I'm also on a lot of supplements and seeing an applied kinesiologist/chiropractor, but that may just mean that he did what we wanted and got my thyroid back on track.

    There is a lot of information in this book that talks about the mysterious relationships between sex hormones, seratonin, thyroid hormones, TSH and stress and anxiety. There were no conclusions, only what this doctor has found to be possible treatments. The bottom line, in his view, is you have to look at more than the lab numbers and treat the symptoms as they present. He also gives a lot of credence to the fact that these physical ailments create depression and axiety in our lives, our relationships especially, and says you have to treat that, too, in order for you to feel yourself again. I like this as it just makes sense.

    I'm happy to answer any questions. I'll also post my supplement regime in my sig when I get a chance.
  2. Lindy

    Lindy Guest

    What is the Solution

    So what is the solution? How long will it take to stabilize to get this crap out of my system? I was on SSRI’s, different kinds, for about 10 years and have been off for about nine months and yet my hair is worse and I am depressed because of the hair loss. I am however slowly loosing the plus 50bls which came along with the SSRI’s. Please, any information you have about whether this stabilizes I will be grateful for. :roll: Lindy
  3. colline

    colline Guest

    please clarify -

    Your thyroid results were normal but you got given paxoil - is this a chemical drug or herbal?

    How long have you been taking it and is it prescriptive or what is it - how is your shed now?
  4. Kat

    Kat Guest

    Here's some more information for clarification:

    Paxil is an anti-depressent/anti-anxiety drug. It's called Seroxat in the UK and Aropax in Australia. I started taking it in early April 2005 to try to get over anxiety/depression that had been very difficult for some time and had been getting better via counseling. But I needed something to "get me over the hump." I had the desire and tools to get better but it seemed my moods were just out of my control.

    A common side-effect, I know now, is hair loss. For me, it was noticable as soon as I went from 10 mg to 20 mg, which happened b/c I was advised by my phamacist to get up to the dosage slowly. When I did Internet searches to try to find out why this was happening and what I could do about it I couldn't find any answers. So I decided to wean off the drug, which was scary b/c it's quite physically addictive. If you want more information about how to do this visit http://www.paxilprogress.com. Fortunately, since I'd only been on it a month my withdrawel was relatively easy.

    I went to an applied kinesiologist, with the hope that he could help with the hair loss, but more to help with the original problem, the anxiety. I don't buy all of his methodologies, but he put me on some supplements and did some chiro therapy that helped with anxiety. He also put me on a diet (see below) that helped my blood sugar, which has helped my anxiety, and is just a healthier diet. One of the supplements he put me on was an animal-based pituitary and thyroid hormone. He believed that's what was off for me, in addition to my adrenal glands being overactive. I still don't fully understand the endocrinology invovled in all of this (I'm still researching) but this is how I started looking into the relationship between Paxil and thyroid.

    Hair loss is a symptom of an underactive thryroid. So is depression and anxiety! It could be that: a) my throid doesn't produce enough hormone, b) my brain doesn't process it very well so I feel anxious/depressed or c) my body doesn't metabolize it well. UPDATE: I got my labs back and my TSH is actually low--.99. So I have more investigating to do. It's borderline, but low enough that I need to find out why. This is also more in line with my original problems--anxiety.

    Finally, in my Internet searches I came across this discussion board: loss=en It says that when you're on Paxil your liver produces more of the enzyme that breaks down thyroid hormone, thus even if you have a healthy thyroid you won't have enough. Your body becomes hypothyroid and hair loss is a symptom of this. (I'm still looking for a few other sources to verify this.) UPDATE: In light of my lab results, I'm not sure what to do with this information now but I'm going to put it in my back pocket until I get more lab results.

    Mymother and aunt are hypothyroid, and they both have severe thinning of their hair (and anxiety/depression). I am post-partum (20 mos) with a history of anxiety/depression and a stressful job. Since my lab results indicate HYPERthyroid while I was on Paxil, I have more investigating to do.

    Still with me? :wink: I hope that's more clear now.

    My shed appears to be over. I can't say for sure what stopped it. It may just be that I got the Paxil out of my system. But I'm posting this info in hopes that it will be beneficial to some of you, if only to point you in possible new directions.

    One thing I want to make sure you get: the book I referenced, The Thyroid Solution, emphasizes that there are a lot of different ways to test how your body is dealing with thyroid hormones and MOST DOCTORS DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS. We all know how hard it is to get a doctor to take you seriously. This is my next quest: to find an endocrinologist who can help me finally get over my anxiety/depression without putting my health at risk and, for God sakes, keep my hair!!

    Here's the odyssey of my diet/supplements. Again, I can't say for sure what really helped, just what I did. I've put a * next to the ones I think are significant.

    --Week of May 1, 2005:
    Notice hair loss beginning with 20 mg of Paxil. Hair in my hands when I wash it, thinning at hairline and temples.
    Anxiety is low, but so are all other emotions!

    --Week of May 8, 2005:
    Finally wean off of Paxil completely.
    Pre-natal Vitamin - 2/day
    Vita Biotics - 2/day
    B-complex - 1/day
    Vit C 1000 mg - 2/day
    Calcium/Mag/Zinc - 1 day

    Anxiety is low, other emotions coming back. Hair loss same.

    --Week of May 15, 2005:
    Prescribed supplements:
    *Symplex F (pituitary/ovarian/thryoid extracts - do a Google search for more info) - 3 tabs AM, 1 tab PM
    Homeopathic anti-anxiety medication called FIRE

    Stopped taking the vitamins and doctor's request, but saw my shed increase! Went back to the vitamin regime within a few days but cut back on the Vit C.

    Started a new food plan, which I love:
    lean meats and veggies
    no grains at all, no corn or potatoes
    no dairy (except butter)
    no canola oil. olive oil okay
    eggs okay
    limit fruits
    no artifical sweeteners (this is my downfall!)

    Anxiety somewhat increased but still managable. Depression slightly increased but managable. Hair loss seems to be waning slightly.

    --Week of May 22

    Same as above, though I quit taking the calcium/mag/zinc.

    Anxiety somewhat increased but still managable. Depression slightly increased but managable. Hair loss seems to be waning slightly.

    --Week of May 29

    Same as above, but lots of cheats on the diet due to the holiday.

    *Added Silica to my supplements. I bought the Hyland's brand and followed the directions - 4 tabs/3-4 x day. I don't think this really stopped the shed, though some people think it does. I noticed my skin looks good and I hope when my hair grows back this will make it stronger.

    *Added MSM to my supplements. I don't think it stopped my shed, though it could be a factor. I hope when my hair grows back this will make it stronger.

    Switched to Burt's Bees Feelin' Flaky shampoo. Hoping the oils will stimulate scalp, or at least create a healthy scalp for new hair to grow into.

    Anxiety still managable. Depression managable. Having trouble sleeping - I'm able to stay up late without feeling tired and then don't feel as tired as I should the next day. Hair loss remains at same level as previous week.

    --Week of June 5

    Thought I was coming down with a cold and started taking the following:

    *Cold-Eeze throat drops (zinc gluconate, like Zicam) - 3-4/day (still taking them). I've heard zinc sometimes helps with hair loss. Don't know if it's known to stop the loss or encourage the growth.

    Umcka Cold Care (a homeopathic remedy)

    My doctor took me off the Symplex F and prescribed Niasitol, a blend of niacin and inosital. This change was to counteract my insomnia. Now that I've done more reading about thyroid I believe the Symplex F was too much and likely made me hyperthyroid. Since I was borderline to begin with this makes sense.

    Anxiety still managable. Depression managable. Sleep returns to normal. Hair loss reduced significantly. It may also be worth noting that I was in Michigan and Ohio this week, though I wasn't drinking tap water but rather distilled. Doubt it's significant, but there it is.

    --Week of June 12

    Same as above. I can say that the shed is stopped. Let's hope it stays that way! I'm going to puruse an endocrinologist to get to the bottom of this once and for all.

    I really hope this helps someone. Let me know if you have other questions.
  5. Prini

    Prini Guest


    One of the supplements he put me on was an animal-based pituitary and thyroid hormone. He believed that's what was off for me

    I agree with Colline, your TSH is normal. In fact most doctor's strive for a TSH of 1 or 2, so .99 is good, unless you don't feel well. It used to be anything near 5 was too high, now doctor's (there's studies) feel TSH shouldn't be over 3. You can go to about.com there's a whole lot of talk on Thyroid and TSH.

    What was the name of this animal-based thyroid hormone? Do you mean Armour?

  6. Kat

    Kat Guest

    The supplement he put me on was Symplex F. It was like speed! And yes, my TSH was normal. I still need to find out why my anxiety and depression are so debilitating. I'm wondering if I had been off post-partum but was on the mend by the time I got to the doctor. Also, those levels were while I was on Paxil, so I think it will be worth it to get another test to make sure, since Paxil can affect how your body metabolizes thyroid hormone.

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