Monday, October 13, 2008 Dot, Community Member, asks

Q: Does hair loss due to taking methotrexate stop?

I was diagnosed with RA in March 2008. I was put on Methotrexate, I have noticed my hair getting thinner. I want to know does hair loss stop or do you keep losing it as long as you are on Methotrexate?
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Answers (13)
Hope, Community Member
7/21/10 8:04am

I lost about a quater of my hair.  I took 9 meth every week for three years.  After about 6 months of being off of it it finally started to grow back.  If it is that big of a problem for you your dr should take you off of it.  My dr discontinued it immediately upon learning that I was loosing my hair.

Carol, Community Member
10/14/08 2:28pm
Some reading I was doing today made me think of your question. It said Fortunately the most serious complications of methotrexate therapy: hepatic cirrhosis, interstitial pneumonitis, and severe myelosuppression are quite rare, especially with proper monitoring. Stomatitis and oral ulcers, mild alopecia and hair thinning, and GI upset may occur and are related to folic acid antagonism. These side effects can be improved with folic acid supplementation. Folic acid given at a dose of 1mg daily does not diminish the efficacy of methotrexate and is routinely given with methotrexate to decrease these side effects. Reply
Susie08, Community Member
6/ 5/09 1:25am

I am new to this site but I wanted to answer your question from what I have learned. I've been on Methotrexate since 2003 and I finally stopped almost 3 weeks ago as I noticed my hair was about 1/2 as thick as it use to be. It still comes out when I comb it especially after I wash it. I guess I'm self consious enough without worrying about my hair. I have long hair and many it's vanity but I can't deal with it any more.

Love My Mane, Community Member
6/12/09 1:06pm

I wish it would stop -- 5 weeks of MTX and 5 weeks of AWFUL hair loss beginning with the first dose.  MTX kills fast-dividing cells which includes hair cells -- so I have to assume the hair loss continues, and I dread it.  I'm obsessed and ready to ditch the MTX but getting crippled isn't a thrilling prospect either.  If anyone can attest to the hair loss slowing down or stopping I'd love to hear about it, but common sense tells me otherwise.


In 2000 Glaxo developed a gel that stopped hair loss in patients taking chemo but it's still being tested and probably won't hit the market for another few years.  It just can't come fast enough for us MTX users.

frances martens, Community Member
4/25/10 1:35am

my name is frances and i have had arthritis for 14 years, just takeing advil and alieve pills now the last 3 year the pain is so bad i now have it every were threw my whole body. it was only my hands and feet now every were even my face.

doctor wants me to take mexotrate but i didnt yet because it sounds like this pill

is really dangerous. Iam afraid of looseing my hair i love my hair is all the way down

to the end of my back. i dont want to loose it or have thin hair but my boy friend

want me to take it to i get better. I am suffering right now take percicet only but now the doctors dont want to really give it to me anymore because its not solving the problem just cover the pain up. but it help me work and to walk with out it i cant move. what should it do should i take this pill mextrotcate. i really dont want too.

Love My Mane, Community Member
4/25/10 3:53pm

Hi, Frances.  If it's a low dose of methotrexate it's not a bad or dangerous drug.  It will, though, probably thin your hair.  There are a lot of other RA drugs your doctor can try first, though.  Plaquenil, celebrex, the biologics (like Enbrel), azulfadine, prednisone, etc.  You should take *something,* to try and prevent joint damage.  Percocet is highly addictive and therefore restricted, plus it only masks the pain and does nothing to keep you moving longer term.  Good luck.

balding2early, Community Member
1/23/11 1:27pm

I have been on methotrexate for 13 years, and yes you will lose hair. I have been on enrel along with it for I think about the last 5 years. My dr said that even enbrel causes hair loss. I think that because of the nature of our disease, and the best way to actually treat it (instead of covering it up like you are doing) there's no way around the hair loss because we are attacking our rapidly regrowing cells. I am very sad about my hairloss, I have beautiful curly brown hair, and I am getting married next year. I want to look beautiful and have a full head of hair on my wedding day. But you have to weigh your quality of life versus your outer beauty. What is more important to you? Being able to get out of bed in the morning, put on your owln clothes, lift your arms high in the air, open that bottle of cranberry juice to start your day, HOLD DOWN A JOB, and the most important of all, hopefully be able to have children and hold a baby in your arms? Or a full head of hair, painful swollen joints, someone has to do everything for you, and you can't even leave the house to drive to work yourself. If you have hair that long, I suggest you cut it and find someone to make you a wig. Then get some real medicine and experience the life that you have been missing for the last 14 years. It is possible to live without pain.You just have to give it a chance. Best of luck Frances.

JeanneW, Community Member
2/ 4/11 5:08pm


6 YEARS ago, went to ER, intestinal bleeding, 11 days hospitalized diagnosed with ischemic colitis, never found the cause. misdiagnosed, no treatment, lots of Excedrin! DRs. denied Crohns though it acted like it! On toilet daily several times, sometimes several hours. Life as I ever knew it was over. Could no longer bend, walk, use of legs were limited got permanent handicap parking sticker etc & electric riding shopping carts or don't go anywhere! Family gave no support, guess because I am Mom? Pain spread all over my body and at the end, my sinus went wild too! 2 bottles nasal spray a week! I truly wanted to go home (to God), could not live in this agony anymore. Seen DR's from my Suburban home to Northwestern University in Chicago! Forget it! (I'll insert here, do not give up! on finding a good DR.) Took a chance with a local Neuro. He said Myositis. Put me on 30mg. daily prednisone, I could not believe it! Pain began to leave, I walked again! No more dragging/shuffling feet! Sinus dried up for actually the first time in my life! The rash slowly began to go away except for the neck area. Was not on the toilet as a living anymore! Burning all over & heat sensitivity feeling became a thing of the past! Over about 6 months time I developed trench mouth, took meds for that, Diabetes, took daily blood tests and meds for that. (still do but it's normal) Developed 2 cataracts.

Another new DR. 15 vials for first office blood work! I'm impressed. Came back with Arthritis, Vasculitis & Crohns. Put me on Methotrexate, a month later I began to decrease Prednisone from 30 mg to 7.5 over 3 months. I could feel some aches returning but not near like before, hair loss, hand fulls of hair loss daily, went off Mexotrexate thinking it was the cause so DR. tried another, I got scared, I could feel more pain coming back, rash returning so pleaded with my Rheumatologist, please put me back on the Methotrexate! My hair is so thin, from thick & curly but as I told my DR. I would rather be bald then ever be in that pain again. I can buy a pretty wig, I cannot buy a pain free moment.

I am on 8 pills once a week of Methotrexate-- 10mg. of Prednisone daily. My sugar level is good! No more fungal infections. Have slight achy feeling but I'll see what the DR. says as we go along.

I will never say bad about Prednisone as I have read some complaining, for me it saved my life & sanity from all the pain I had, the intense burning sensations mainly in my legs but all over at times. Heat sensitivity is back to normal now! Before, I could feel the heat from the vent the moment the furnace went on! I would feel like I was on fire!

I do know I have faith in this DR. but if I lose that faith I will move on to find another.

"Control" of any disease is what a good Dr. can do.

I made my decision, though not easy, yes I had some cry days over the hair loss

and tomorrow I'll be trying on wigs, yes it kind of scares me, it's all new to me, soon I'll probably own a few of them and I will adapt to it :-) God bless you who believe, I feel safe due to my Christian faith, He upholds me even when human support was not there. He will help me pick out my new hair & one day . . . maybe, Ill grow my own back. If not, it's OK. As long as I can walk! -Jeanne

Meggy100, Community Member
5/17/11 8:50pm
Hi there! I found your Advise really really good up until you spoke about having children! Unfortunatly one of the severe side effects of methotrexate is that both women and me are extremely suseptable to very deformed babies! And the drug stays in the system for upto 2 years so pregnancy and breastfeeding are a big no no! My daughters only 19 and has has RA since she was about 4, she's tried everything with this drug being the latest! Unfortunatly her hairs falling out, which for her age was devistating, so she's now on leflunomide, again however pregnancy is an absolute noway! It breaks my heart as a lot can happen in a few years, she may fall in love and want to start a family but will have to wait at least 2 years and in that time she's limited in what she can take!! Anyhow, it's the same for all RA sufferers so please write in and tell me how you and your familys cope with all these issues! I would love the advice as I've never spoke out about it, to anyone! Thank you. Xxx Reply
Leslie Rott, Health Guide
5/18/11 7:18am

As has already been suggested here, hair loss while on MTX is very common.  As for having children, I have never heard of not having children at all from being on MTX.  MTX can act as an abortive agent, so pregnancy while on MTX is obviously not a possibility.  But my doctor seems to think that I could go off of MTX for a year, and then try and become pregnant.  These illnesses make such life decisions very calculated and not spontaneous, but not totally impossible. 

Pam M, Community Member
10/11/12 5:23pm

Hi frances my name is Pam I live in Cheshire England. I have had RA for 5 years, the last 2 years have been horrendous, couldnt even turn over in bed or take the covers off me. I really didnt want to take methotrexate but one weekend I was so bad I made my mind up I could not stand the pain any more, just taking pain killers and anti-inflamatories so I contacted my rheumatologist and said I was prepared to take it. It started to work after 3 weeks, I have been on it for 4 months now. What a difference, I feel like a new person, hardly any pain and no side effects apart from maybe a small hair loss. But believe me I could not go back to that torture. One day when you cannot stand the pain, just go for it, I am sure you wont be sorry, I know it is a little worrying but it is worth the risk as you will be closely monitored, and the benefits are fantastic.

annicam, Community Member
9/28/09 8:40pm

I have been on methotrexate (MTX) for 15 years and have had RA for 20 years.  At first I took MXT orally but I've been self-injecting it for about 7 years now (I got headaches on oral MXT).  I have lost about half of my hair, my eyebrows have thinned and so has my pubic hair!  My Rheumatologist had me double my Folic Acid from 5 mg once per week to 5 mg twice per week. We'll see if doubling the folic acid works!   I was told that the hair will grow back if you stop MXT, but the problem is that when I have tried that, I've flared up badly.  I opted for allowing my very wavy hair to air-dry rather than blow-dry straight and having it cut into a shorter inverted bob...this way, it looks a little fuller.  People, there is no way to win when you have rheumatoid arthritis!

Dawn in Kansas, Community Member
12/15/09 2:03pm

Hi - I'm with you. I've been on MTX for about 20 years now. I take 1mg of Folic Acid daily. Have been for years. I've also experienced the same types of hair loss that you describe. I used to have quite a bit of natural curl that has changed to what I would call natural wave. It has also changed from thick to thin / fine. "Thicker" by Rusk has become one of my favorite styling tools.

Sally, Community Member
7/20/10 9:37pm

Both of these stories compare with my current condition. After 12 years of methotrexate use, my hair was thinning badly. When I stopped the methotrexate to let my hair grow back, my joints flared up. I take folic acid daily. I'm wondering how long it takes for the hair follicles to become normal again so its like starting from scratch when methotrexate is resumed.

VC, Community Member
9/ 1/12 3:48pm
I have been on metho about 7 months and also losing a lot of hair which I could not afford to lose had very thin hair to begin with. Toppik powder has saved me the embarrassment of my scalp shining threw my hair. I never would have believed it would camouflage thinning hair but it truly does. Go to their web site and order it, you may cry from happiness once you see the results. Reply
Lovely_beth, Community Member
11/12/09 4:02pm

I was on methotrexate when i was 14 because i have crohn's disease and arthritis... i lost most of my hair and it went really thin. i am now 18 and have just started university and i have now been put back on it. Im once again scared about lossing my hair again. does anyone know of any produces that can help with this??

AlwaysHope, Community Member
12/20/10 2:48pm

Methotrexate 2.5,  6 pills a day, Folic acid 1. one time daily, my hair loss is severe, in 3 months I have lost at least half my hair. It is no longer curly either. I noticed it in Nov. after the dose went from 2 pills a day to 4. Then 4 to 6 it as constant, if I just touched my hair some would be on my hand,

My DR. changed me to Sulfasalazine last week He did not feel my hair loss was from Methotrexate at such a low dose (?). He asked if it could be from my "hair dye"  I said no but was made to feel rather stupid. He didn't like I was reading this info off the internet but when the DR. does not tell you the side affects, it forces the person to do their own research!

Anyway, I have been on Sulfasalazine a few days now. Hair still comes out by the root & handfull. I no longer blow dry my hair as my hair is all over the house!

Can't wear a hair piece, not enough hair to attach one on.

Does this stop? Has anyone gone bald over this when treated for RA?

I noticed a lot of people with these immune disorders have hypothyroidism, I wonder if there is a connection?

I have hypothyroid it since the 1990's.


Peggallen, Community Member
3/22/11 12:44pm

Was very alarmed to read your letter about your Methotrexate dosage. I hope you meant you take those six pills ONE day a week on a specific day. Not on a daily basis!! That is why there are deaths with this medication as people get the directions wrong! So I hope you wrote that in error. If not...Stop immediatly and call your Dr. !!

Lynn, Community Member
2/14/11 5:48pm

I too am new to this site but I wanted my experience with this med to be noted.  I have been taking methotrexate now for about 6 months and just recently started losing my hair by the handfuls, especially after washing, it is very distressing to me, not for vain purposes, its just the knowing that my hair is falling out so much so fast.  I take the medication for RA.  I am seeking a different medication from my Doctors, methotrexate is also known as the "abortion drug", if it can kill a fetus I don't want it in my system.



D.L. Brown















































































angie, Community Member
10/11/12 7:11pm

I've not heard it being called by that term. But what I do know is that you CANNOT take DMARDS while pregnant. That is a class of drugs alot of us RA people are on and couldn't function without and you cannot stop it cold turkey either. .... My advise is if you're wanting to get pregnant talk to your rheumatologist about when to stop it so you can try to get pregnant. But after having the baby start it back if not nursing. Your RA will progress to where you need it to stop the damage RA causes to your body. After all you will want to try to be as physically able to take care of your baby. I wish you the best and good luck. 

c. brown, Community Member
6/17/11 3:04pm

Will hair loss stop after awhile of taking Methotrexate?


Will celebrex stop hair loss due to ra?

angie, Community Member
10/11/12 7:02pm

I am sorry to hear that. It happened to me also, very shortly after I started MTX. My rheumatologist put me on leucovorin. It replenishes what the MTX takes out. I don't know if its just me, but my hair has started getting thicker again and my greys have turned back to my natural color. Ask your doc about the Leucovorin... Just an idea. Good luck!

LuAnne, Community Member
11/18/12 10:27am

How long after stopping Methotrexate will the thinning and loss of hair along with an itchy scalp begin o stop?  How ling should it take for hair to grow back?

Jill, Community Member
2/ 2/14 4:01am

I also have the same questiion re methotrexate ??

judi, Community Member
3/ 6/14 11:24pm

does methotrexate cause alopecia  i have taken the med injection since nov and now my hair is falling out

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By Dot, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/02/14, First Published: 10/13/08