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Posted (edited)

Has anyone noticed their hair prematurely greying as a side effect of psychiatric medication?  Is there a correlation?  I’ve read on the internet that people who take meds for epilepsy sometimes experience this.  Apparently, they take psyche meds such as topomax, tryleptol, and antidepressants.  Some parents reported their children going grey as early as 10 years old.

I was attempting to watch an online interview with a schizophrenic woman, but I couldn’t stop staring at the noticeable wash of grey hair at the top of her head.  She looked like she was in her early thirties like me...then I thought, ‘wait a minute’. So now I am curious.

Edited by AbilifyedBunny

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Been on all the older atypical antipsychotics,  been on most the mood stabilizers available, and have tried a hefty list of anti-depressants. 18 years on meds and no grey hair. If it’s a side effect, I imagine it’s pretty rare. This is the first I’ve heard of it. 

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I've been on some typical antipsychotics, a lot of atypicals, topamax for several years, as well as lithium, have been on several antidepressants, but mostly fleetingly, as well as Ritalin, Strattera, and blood pressure medications.  I am going grey at 31, was put on psychotropics at 12 or 11 or something.  I am not sure it is related in my case because my father's family goes grey early.  

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1 hour ago, saintalto said:

Been on all the older atypical antipsychotics,  been on most the mood stabilizers available, and have tried a hefty list of anti-depressants. 18 years on meds and no grey hair. If it’s a side effect, I imagine it’s pretty rare. This is the first I’ve heard of it. 

Trouble is...I get all the rare side effects that no one has heard of or that most patients don’t get.

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1 hour ago, Banana Smurf said:

I've been on some typical antipsychotics, a lot of atypicals, topamax for several years, as well as lithium, have been on several antidepressants, but mostly fleetingly, as well as Ritalin, Strattera, and blood pressure medications.  I am going grey at 31, was put on psychotropics at 12 or 11 or something.  I am not sure it is related in my case because my father's family goes grey early.  

It started significantly happening to me half way through 32 and it’s kind of random...like just in patches kind of, although it’s kind of all over too.  I don’t really know my family history on this.  But I do know that early thirties is awfully young to go grey...at least imo.  After seeing the woman in that video, it really makes me wonder...especially seeing as I have had almost every weird side effect known to man.

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I’ve been on Seroquel for at least 15 years, and topiramate since 2006, and I have appreciably less gray hair than my brother, who is four years younger and doesn’t take psych meds.

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The only side effect I had from any med was hair loss/thinning on high dose Lamictal (400 mg/day), but that may have been due to traction alopecia as I had very long hair at that time and always kept it pulled back.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, AbilifyedBunny said:

It started significantly happening to me half way through 32 and it’s kind of random...like just in patches kind of, although it’s kind of all over too.  I don’t really know my family history on this.  But I do know that early thirties is awfully young to go grey...at least imo.  After seeing the woman in that video, it really makes me wonder...especially seeing as I have had almost every weird side effect known to man.

According to this article from WebMD,  Caucasian people can start going grey by their mid-30s....Asian people by late 30s, and typically African Americans don't start going grey until their 40s......So, for a Caucasian person, going grey in their 20's would be considered "premature greying", while an African American going grey in their 30s would be considered premature.

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/abcs-premature-graying#1

A lot of factors can influence when you start having grey hairs, but family genetics is considered a pretty large factor......It would help to know when your mother or father started going grey........Also, nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin B-12 deficiencies, can contribute.....Smokers, in general, tend to go grey earlier.......In some cases, it might be due to thyroid issues..

I couldn't find much of anything about psych meds causing grey hair.

Personally, I started having some grey hairs in my 30s.....Both my parents had some grey hair by their 30s also, and neither one of them took any psych meds........If your grey hair really bothers you, you could consider dying it, although I realize some people don't choose to color their hair.

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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13 hours ago, mikl_pls said:

The only side effect I had from any med was hair loss/thinning on high dose Lamictal (400 mg/day), but that may have been due to traction alopecia as I had very long hair at that time and always kept it pulled back.

I have had hair loss on many meds personally.  That is why I was wondering if the meds could be a factor for the greys.  Currently, I am on an injection of Abilify and I have begun losing hair again.  I never lost hair on the Abilify pills...but lo and behold...the injections caused gradual hair thinning for me.  

As I had mentioned before, I always have unheard of or rare side effects that surprise my psychiatrist.  I took Vraylar and loved it but I gained 30 lbs in 3 months.  Only 4% of people gain weight on that drug, but I was in that 4%.

Prior to having the Abilify injection, I asked my psychiatrist if hair loss would be a side effect...and she said it was very unlikely and she had never heard of it.  Sure enough...

The Abilify injection also has a whole host of other negative side effects for me (like being f***ing exhausted) and I am on a very low dose.

My previous psychiatrist did a DNA/genome test on me and discovered that I have one gene that makes me susceptible to gaining weight on meds, and another gene that makes me susceptible to losing hair on meds.

I am not saying that it is a definite, but if so many meds have affected my hair...then maybe they *could* be the culprit for the greys.  That is what I am trying to figure out.

Of course, the cigarette smoking could be a factor.  I take an iron supplement daily, but I also have an issue with my iron.  A couple of times I had been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency so it’s probably time to get another blood panel.

I just find the whole thing odd.  I have a face and body that appear 25/27 (excess weight aside)...people always tell me that I look young or they though I was in my 20’s.  Yet I am developing silver fox hair, with a big patch of it around my face.  It simply doesn’t make sense to me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, CrazyRedhead said:

According to this article from WebMD,  Caucasian people can start going grey by their mid-30s....Asian people by late 30s, and typically African Americans don't start going grey until their 40s......So, for a Caucasian person, going grey in their 20's would be considered "premature greying", while an African American going grey in their 30s would be considered premature.

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/abcs-premature-graying#1

A lot of factors can influence when you start having grey hairs, but family genetics is considered a pretty large factor......It would help to know when your mother or father started going grey........Also, nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin B-12 deficiencies, can contribute.....Smokers, in general, tend to go grey earlier.......In some cases, it might be due to thyroid issues..

I couldn't find much of anything about psych meds causing grey hair.

Personally, I started having some grey hairs in my 30s.....Both my parents had some grey hair by their 30s also, and neither one of them took any psych meds........If your grey hair really bothers you, you could consider dying it, although I realize some people don't choose to color their hair.

Thank you for the link, I will check it out.  I see what you are saying.  I have read these statistics too.  However, so far as I have read...for caucasians, grey hair usually starts around the age of 35.  I am currently 33, and I started having a lot of grey hairs when I was 31...even more so at 32.

Of course bleaching could be a factor.  I had my hair bleached to platinum blonde at the salon for years, and I never reacted well to the bleach...at one point I became allergic to it and had to stop.  I believe I was always mildly allergic, then at one point the allergy became severe.

When I get the chance, I am most certainly going to dye over the greys.

Also, I’m sure you have heard the age old opinion that stress can cause grey hair.  There is some debate as to whether or not this is true.  Over the past few years, I have had an immense amount of stress.  The grey hairs started becoming more prominent after I had surgery for a cancer scare and my mind and body had undergone a great deal of stress.  There had also been a whole lot of stress after that as well.  I can’t even express to you, how much stress I was under.  The significant patch of greys, started right around this time period of extreme stress.

 

 

 

12 hours ago, Banana Smurf said:

I was curious but could only find this reference but didn't really look hard

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30115188/

Thank you for the link, I will check it out.

Edited by AbilifyedBunny

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@AbilifyedBunny What does your psychiatrist say about greying hair and meds? This is the person you should really be asking because we are going on personal experiences here, we are not doctors.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, saintalto said:

@AbilifyedBunny What does your psychiatrist say about greying hair and meds? This is the person you should really be asking because we are going on personal experiences here, we are not doctors.

I will definitely ask her.  I haven’t had a chance to yet.  But hearing empirical evidence from others who are on the psych meds is just as valuable...especially if it is a rare side effect that my psychiatrist may have never even heard of.  Psychiatrists are very open to feedback from the patients, which is actually where they get a lot of their info on side effects.  At the end of the day, a psychiatrist is only human and feedback from the patient is almost equally valuable to the psychiatrist’s opinion.  But I will definitely ask her next time I talk with her.

Edited by AbilifyedBunny
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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, AbilifyedBunny said:

Also, I’m sure you have heard the age old opinion that stress can cause grey hair.  There is some debate as to whether or not this is true.  Over the past few years, I have had an immense amount of stress.  The grey hairs started becoming more prominent after I had surgery for a cancer scare and my mind and body had undergone a great deal of stress.  There had also been a whole lot of stress after that as well.  I can’t even express to you, how much stress I was under.  The significant patch of greys, started right around this time period of extreme stress.

Yes, there is some debate about stress causing grey hair........However, I did find some info about a study that was done with mice....It's very interesting........Stressing the mice caused noticeable loss of melanocyte stem cells and hair greying.

 https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-stress-causes-gray-hair#:~:text=Stress can cause hair to,stem cells and tissue regeneration.

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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