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Hair Loss and HIV?

Aug 17, 2007

Hi Dr. Young,

I'm wondering if hair loss is a common symptom of ongoing HIV infection? I have been losing a lot of hair recently (much more than usual), and my scalp seems crusty and sensitive. When I scratch my scalp, there is always crust under my fingernails. I've been thinking of taking Propecia in order to stop the hair loss, but I'm not sure if there's a drug interaction between Propecia and HIV meds. Also, could it be that I'm simply overreacting to this hair loss and it's just male-pattern baldness setting in? Or does HIV affect hair growth or the scalp in some way that leads to hair loss? Any of your thoughts would be warmly received. Thanks for answering all of our questions.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post and words.

Hair loss is not a commonly reported side effect of HIV medications, save for known issues with the now-old protease inhibitor, indinavir (Crixivan). It's also not thought to be associated with HIV, as far as I know.

There are scattered (ie., rare) case reports of hair loss associated with other medications, including lopinavir (Kaletra), atazanavir (Reyataz) and tenofovir (Viread, Truvada).

As for Propecia, there aren't any significant interactions with HIV medications. If your having sensitive skin on your scalp, it's possible that you may have some reason other than male-pattern hair loss- enough to make sure that you bring your symptoms to your doctor's attention.

Hope this helps. BY

Just started taking medication
reuse of epivir

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