Methotrexate and hair loss

jojo03 Member Posts: 77
edited 30. Sep 2014, 03:50 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi all

I started mtx in January this year and was doing quite well, with no obvious side effects, up until a few weeks ago, when my hair started thinning. I know this is a common side effect, I suppose I just wasn't expecting it to happen after being on the drug for months already.

I have naturally curly hair, which tends to come out a lot anyway, especially when washing it, but the last few washes it's been coming out in handfuls, and my hair is now looking quite thin and brittle.

I'm currently taking two 5mg folic acid tablets a week. I wonder if I increase the folic acid, will the hair loss become less?

Has anyone else increased their folic acid to counteract hair loss - and if so, does it have any effect?



  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have always had baby-fine curly blonde hair, and I noticed earlier this year that I could see my scalp in a few places (my solution to that was to stop looking in the mirror :wink: ) but a couple of months ago I bought a solid shampoo from Lush (one 'dedicated' to restoring thinning hair) and I think it is helping matters. What dose meth are you taking and by which method? I am on 15mg injected meth per week, plus 5mgs FA when I remember to take it. :oops: For me thinning hair may be a side-effect or age-related (I am 55) but because it doesn't physically hurt I confess I'm not that worried about it. If, however, one is used to a wonderful crowning glory then of course it is more upsetting. It is also not surprising that it's taken a few months to happen, compared to some patients for whom meth is a treatment we are on very teeny-tiny doses.

    I know that FA can be taken for up to six days per week (not on the day of the tablets or jab) so please contact your rheumatology unit for advice, you should not increase this without consulting them. I wish you well. DD
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi jo , with treating cancer they use alot higher dose of methotrexate compared to the levels we are given , when I first started the nurse was telling myself & a bold headed man we would not lose our hair ,

    I been on MTX since 98 , I had some problems with my liver with the drug so they increased my folic acid to 6 days a week & it sorted out the ALT problems & it helped my hair thicken up , so I would ask your rheumy nurse if you could increase your folic acid
  • jojo03
    jojo03 Member Posts: 77
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks both, for your replies.

    I take 15mg of mtx a week, in tablet form.

    I'll give the rheumy nurse a ring I think, and see if it's ok to up the dose of folic acid a little. Otherwise, I'll have to get searching for a thickening shampoo!

    Many thanks,
  • purplepatch
    purplepatch Member Posts: 28
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Jo, I've had the same problem now for a couple of years and asked the consultant about it when I was at the hospital in May, he said to take folic acid every day apart from the day I do my mtx injection - I was also referred to the dermatology dept. by my GP (I think he was giving away referrals as he was retiring!!) They were of the opinion it was hormone related, - I'm early 50's but no harm in taking folic acid. I've been taking it for the last few months & the loss has definitely slowed down but not stopped altogether although you can feel short bristles underneath in some areas.
    No-one else has noticed it so far (apart from OH who has to clean the shower drain!) & I mentioned it to my sister who said she would never have known - and she would definitely have told me if she had!
    I guess I'm another candidate for trying DD's shampoo - I hope you're on commission DD!

    Purple x
  • LignumVitae
    LignumVitae Member Posts: 1,972
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This happened to me but (touch wood) was sorted by taking folic acid five days a week. Good luck!

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