Hair Loss & UC Meds

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 9/20/2007 8:13 AM (GMT -7)   
I am happy to say that, after flaring since January, I finished tapering off the prednisone last week and am doing well so far (fingers crossed).  I am still on Lialda and Canasa.  The entire time I was on the pred, I was losing hair, but now that I'm off it I am still losing a lot.  I have thick hair so it's not too bad but it might become terrible if this continues.  I have heard that Lialda can cause this.  Does anyone know?  Maybe a switch to Asacol would help?  Thanks and good health to all!

-currently having a flare
-prednisone , rowasa enema, Lialda (4 pills 1 time a day), canasa, probiotic, multivitamin, calcium with vitamin d, iron

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5133
   Posted 9/20/2007 9:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Congratulations on getting off Pred; that's great news! My experience with 5-ASA meds is that they do cause some excess hair loss, too. It seems that your daily Lialda dose is higher than the norm, but likely that other members here who are also taking it will comment & advise you. Best wishes for continued progress in combatting UC! / Old Hat (nearly 30 yrs with left-sided UC; currently on 6 Colazal daily for July flare in descending colon; should be back in remission soon)

Scrap Girl
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 653
   Posted 9/20/2007 10:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I've been struggling with hair loss, too, and I'm not sure exactly what is causing it. Right now I'm only taking Colazal and getting Remicade infusions, but it started before the Remicade. I was on Azathioprine for about six months and I was thinking maybe that was the culprit, however, I've been off of that for several months now and still losing a ton of hair. I've been taking Biotin, which is suppose to make your hair stronger, but it hasn't really helped with the hair loss. I will tell you that I used to be on Asacol but I did have a lot of hair loss with that and it seemed like as soon as I switched to Colazal it went away.

Diagnosed with UC in Feb. 2005
Colazal (9 a day)
Folic Acid
Remicade remission

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 9/20/2007 10:32 AM (GMT -7)   
I, too, am not sure of the culprit, but have noticed significant hair loss. I did notice it more during taking prednisone so I am suspecting the drug. I figure why not, the prednisone causes all kinds of problems, why not hair loss. I would not think that going from Lialda to Asacol would make a difference since they are the same drug. The only difference is the dosage. I do not think that the Remicade is behind my hair loss since the hair loss started before Remicade. It also started before the Imuran so I am am left to the Asacol/Lailda and prednisone. I am suspecting the prednisone since I seemed to notice the hair loss more while on the prednisone. I do know that even when you are down to zero with the prednisone the side effects can linger for a while as the prednisone leaves your body.

UC diagnosed 2004

Asacol 9 tablets daily

Canasa PRN/ Currently 1x in evening

Prednisone- 30 mg as of 6/8/07, Increased to 50mg 6/18/07, 25mg as of 9/17/07

Lialda 4 tablets daily

Multi vitamins

As of 8/3/07- Azathioprine 50mg

2nd Remicade Infusion 8/31/07

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 9/20/2007 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm currently taking 9 asacol a day and have really bad hair loss :( I'm blonde and have fine hair, so its definitely noticable. I've been taking Biotin supplements and and just started using a shampoo I got from my hair stylist that is supposed to strengthen where the hairs attach to your head. (cancer patients use it when they are coming off of chemo) Its pretty pricey (14.99 for a small bottle of it) but I'm desperate and had to try it. I'll let you know if it actually works. For now I'm wearing thick headbands with my hair tied up to mask some of the thin spots!
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis: August 7, 2007 at age 24
Meds so far: Asacol 3 pills 3 times a day
                 Mesalamine Enemas every night
                 Prednisone for 10 days (ending Sept 2) Starting with 50mg
                 and tapering off by 10 every two days  (pcp prescribed for
                 joint pain)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2198
   Posted 9/20/2007 3:34 PM (GMT -7)   
I noticed the most dramatic hair loss when I was on 6MP. I actually developed a bald spot on the back of my head. Very embarassing because I didn't know it was there for a long time. After I got off the drug, my hair grew back super thick and super kinky curly, the way some chemo patients' hair does. I don't recall pred or sulfasalazine giving me any noticeable problems.
Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999
C-scope confirmed UC diagnosis
Maintenance dose sulfasalazine
Probiotics, l-glutamine and fish oil caps

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 9/20/2007 4:23 PM (GMT -7)   

I am a firm believer that the prednisone is the culprit for most people. I do realize that with this disease and the meds we take, we are definitely prone to loose hair. I was diagnosed in Feb 06 and after completing my first round of prednisone I began loosing chunks of hair. That continued for a few months until I flared and they put me back on the prednisone. Amazingly, my hair stopped falling out for the six months I was on it. When I came off the prednisone the second time, I started loosing hair within three weeks. I have currently been off prednisone since the end of May and my hair is just now starting to slow down with the loss.Now my first inclination was that it was the 5-ASA drugs doing it (i have been on both asacol and pentasa). I discontinued the use of Pentasa approx two months ago, but the hair loss continued. Although I am currently taking Imuran 150 mg, the only common denominator between the first and second episodes of hair loss was the prednisone.

Hair loss is very hard to deal with and I am sure we all know that. I thankfully had thick curly hair that allowed me to hide the loss for a little while. I currently now only wash my hair a couple times a week, I do not blow dry it or put product in it and I also pull it back to hide the thinness. I use Nioxin shampoo which is expensive, but is supposed to strengthen the hair shaft to decrease the loss. I havent really noticed too much of a difference using it, but I was at the point to do anything to help. I also take a prenatal vitamin and biotin b/c they are both good for hair and nail growth. I definitely have hair regrowth, it is controlling the loss that is difficult. B/c the hair loss is slowing, I look forward to getting it cut short and starting to grow it back out again. I wish all of you the same luck.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 9/20/2007 8:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks to everyone for the replies. It is a comfort to know that I'm not going crazy, that my UC meds could really be causing this. I will definitely be trying some of the advice posted in this string. It's hard to think that as time goes on I could really have visible bald patches, but I will try to stay optimistic and concentrate on the power of positive thinking. I will post if I hear of any other remedies or make any progress. Good luck to all of you.
-currently having a flare
-prednisone , rowasa enema, Lialda (4 pills 1 time a day), canasa, probiotic, multivitamin, calcium with vitamin d, iron

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 9/21/2007 9:32 AM (GMT -7)   
perach said...
I am happy to say that, after flaring since January, I finished tapering off the prednisone last week and am doing well so far (fingers crossed).  I am still on Lialda and Canasa.  The entire time I was on the pred, I was losing hair, but now that I'm off it I am still losing a lot.  I have thick hair so it's not too bad but it might become terrible if this continues.  I have heard that Lialda can cause this.  Does anyone know?  Maybe a switch to Asacol would help?  Thanks and good health to all!

asacol is made me shed alot of hair...start taking hair of your hair,,maybe a biotin vitamin or some b's..try garlic shampoos and do lots of treatments.

diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 6/05

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 413
   Posted 9/21/2007 9:50 AM (GMT -7)   
For me, Prednisone is the culprit--and hair loss continues for a couple a months after stopping the Pred. I'm back on 5 mg of Pred and don't notice the hair loss I have when I go to 10 or 20 mg. Also, I've been on Asocal for years and don't notice any hair loss w/this medication (for me).
Dx Ulcerative Colitis 1999; IBS; CP: Asacol x3 x3/day, Rowasa, Proctofoam, Prilosec, Bentyl, Prozac, Endocet (as needed), multi vit, probiotic, fish oil caps x2/day, calcium 1200 mg./day, Prednisone (off/on, unfortunately).

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 185
   Posted 9/21/2007 10:18 AM (GMT -7)   
I have had lots of hair loss since starting treatment.  I began taking Asacol in Dec 06.  The hair loss started immediately and when my dosage was upped to 9 pills/day it began falling out by the handfull.  Luckily I have a lot of very thick curly hair so it was awhile before it became noticable, but eventually I got two bald spots on either side of my forehead.  When I began prednisone in Mar 07 the hairloss lessened some and eventaully began to taper off.  I switched to Lialda in July 07 with not much difference in hairloss.  However when I upped from 3 Lialda/day to 4/day the hairloss increased.  I have since lowered back to 3/day and the hairloss is tapering again.  So I believe the 5-ASA meds are to blame for me and more so at higher doses.

left-sided UC
400 mg Asacol 4 pills 3 times/day lialda 1 pill 4 times/day
making some very light attempts using Rowasa enemas
iron supplements 3 times/day
multi-vitamin 1/day
Digestive Advantage Colitis formula 1/day

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 9/21/2007 11:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Prednisone has caused the worst hair loss for me! Evil drug. I do notice some with the Imuran and Asacol, but NOTHING like what I had with the prednisone. I also tend to think that the disease itself can cause hair loss. If you're body is concentrating on healing one part, I think it's less likely to worry about the hair on your head.

Biotin helped my hair grow back faster. I took 5mg once a day. It takes a month or so to notice, but I noticed my hair growing super fast and my nails were growing really fast too!
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
Asacol 12 per day,  Azathioprine 75mg, Rowasa and Canasa as needed
Aciphex, Effexor XR, BCP, Rhinocort nasal spray
Culturelle, Biotin, Folic Acid, Forvia, Calcium, and B12
Osteopenia (hip and spine) from prednisone use.  Started Azathioprine because I was steroid dependent.
Co-Mod for the UC forum
Keep HealingWell running smoothly:

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3238
   Posted 9/21/2007 12:08 PM (GMT -7)   
My experience is pretty much the same as everyone elses. My hair fell out a ton while on pred. I have been off it over a year now and it has completely stopped fall out (except for the normal amount). I noticed a difference about 3-4 months off pred. Hang in there!
Tabitha (Tab)

100mg Azathioprine, 2 Fibercon, Colazal-6 a day, Acidopholis Pearls, Prilosec OTC
Co-Moderator UC Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 955
   Posted 9/22/2007 6:42 AM (GMT -7)   
omg, so much hair is smeared on the shower walls after i shampoo and there is hair all over the house. it gets tangled in my toes and we find long stands in our food. gross!! i am not on pred and my hair is falling out big time. i am only on mesalizine at the moment. its been falling out since the flare started. i've been told its from the UC actually as well as the quick weight loss i have experienced. its probably everything put together, drugs and all. i have no bald spots but its crazy that i still have hair with the amount the comes off my head.
so yeah, i'd say its the "whole lot" of what we deal with that is the likely culprit...

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 9/22/2007 8:40 AM (GMT -7)   
me too! my hair is all over the house. my husband says he finds it on his clothes at work. i definitely plan to try the biotin and maybe cut my hair a bit shorter. it probably is combination of causes, but i'm hoping that as i move further away from the pred and lower my lialda dose it will get better.
-currently having a flare
-prednisone , rowasa enema, Lialda (4 pills 1 time a day), canasa, probiotic, multivitamin, calcium with vitamin d, iron

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 9/22/2007 8:59 PM (GMT -7)   
i definitely find that PRED. does it for me (well, the hair leaves my head and mysteriously comes back on my face!). but at least i have a lot of it and it does come back.

My most major hair loss was with was coming out in clumps at one point. i would say within 1-2 weeks of stopping it, my hair stayed put (on my head).

I've also been on asacol and imuran (currently) with no hair loss...starting remicade soon--lets hope my hair stays on my head!

30years old
diagnosed UC- 1996

currently in flare- on 30mg pred/day
150mg Imuran
remicade-starting soon.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 9/23/2007 8:21 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm on Canasa too and hadn't considered that as a cause. I am hoping to stop that in a month or so, when I'm confident the Lialda alone will keep me in remission. Thanks again to everyone, this is all so helpful.
-currently having a flare
-prednisone , rowasa enema, Lialda (4 pills 1 time a day), canasa, probiotic, multivitamin, calcium with vitamin d, iron

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 85
   Posted 9/26/2007 1:28 PM (GMT -7)   
It's definately the pred for me too. I've been on Asacol the whole time and now Azathioprine and my hair is not falling out, but every time I had a course of pred, I had 3 months or so of hairloss - the 1st time being the worst where I lost about 70% of my hair! but that was a really bad flare and I was on a lot of steroids. Since then it hasn't been that bad.
I don't think the Biotin will stop it falling out but will make it grow back faster and stronger and give you great nails..
I found the whole thing REALLY traumatic but I invested in loads of beautiful scarves and headbands, which I wore everyday for a whole summer to get me through the worst of it. Now it has grown back really curly and pretty thick and I can do loads with it and appreciate it much more! Take comfort in the fact that you will NOT go bald and it WILL grow back (maybe even better than before)!
27 yr old female
Diagnosed Feb 2005 with pancolitis
Asacol: 2x3 daily, 50mg Imuran (since March 2006-in remission)
Multivitamin, SCD yoghurt


New Member

Date Joined Dec 2014
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 6/19/2015 10:14 PM (GMT -7)   
also check your Iron level, i think that may be the cause for me
UC for years untreated, blamed on "stress"
so reduced stress and changed diet which calmed down UC
Years later a major flare up after very healthy and active years
Medication seems to be helping

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 498
   Posted 6/20/2015 9:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Ditto to the iron. That was it for me when I lost a ton of hair. It could also be due to the stress of a flare. I've read it can take 6 months after a flare for your body to respond, ie hair loss.
Caitie, Female, 24
Diagnosed with UC in the distal sigmoid colon 2/13/13
UC spread to severe pancolitis diagnosed 10/4/13
Intolerant to mesalamines
Started remicade 10/11/13 - 5mg/kg every 8 weeks
Failed meds: Lialda, Canasa, Uceris, Imuran
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