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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Is hair coloring detrimental?
Aug 5, 2004

Good Morning Doctors: I recently had my hair dyed by a professional for the first time in my life. About two weeks after the coloring, I noticed one morning that a clump of hair the size of a quarter fell out of my scalp. I had not been cognizant of any noticeable thinning prior to this or had any overt hair loss like this in the past. I am currently taking a cocktail of kaletra, amprenivir, viread, and epivir. In addition, I take famvir as a preventative against recurring shingles. Do meds and hair coloring dyes in some way find themselves in conflict to the point where the situation would result in the falling out of my hair? I have obviously stopped with the coloring treatments, but am now left with this unsightly hole in the front of my head. Correlating with this is the fact that during the time I had my hair dyed, I was extremely anxiety-ridden and stressed with a myriad of personal problems that gave me a very nervous stomach and a touch of colitis. I'm most aware of the harmful effects of prolonged stress and wonder if this could be the culprit. However,I'm most curious to know if an hiv patient like myself should avoid hair coloring because of its potential to contradict with my meds ...Is there anything I can do to stimulate the growth of what was once healthy hair? I have gotten cortisone shots in my scalp from my dermatologist who says that the cortisone will abate the damaged scalp area in question. Am I going in the right direction? Your thought process on this problem will be very much appreciated. Thank you for your assistance.

Response from Dr. Conway

I am not aware of any specific concerns regarding the use of hair coloring in the setting of HIV infection or its treatment. In fact, many of my patients consider it life-affirming (though I must say I have not tried it myself).

Stress is a frequent culprit in hair loss of the type you describe, and the right approach is stress relief, local steroid injections and time.

As for your medications, there are anecdotal reports of Viread-associated hair loss in those who have recently begun this medication. If this is a recent addition to what you are taking, you might consider this.

Emtriva+Sustiva+Viread... Food or no food?

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