Jeff Donovan

ScienceShot: Anti-Malaria Drug Bleaches Hair

Be careful the next time you try to protect yourself against malaria. In tomorrow's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report the case of a woman who overdosed on chloroquine, a drug commonly used to fight the malaria parasite. Instead of taking the doctor recommended dose of 500 milligrams per week, she mistakenly took 500 milligrams per day, a dosage that bleached her blond hair white. The researchers say such "hypopigmentation" occurs because chloroquine poisons pigment-producing cells in hair follicles. But there's an upside: The finding could be a boon to the multibillion-dollar hair color industry, which has been searching for a pharmaceutical way to change hair color.

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Posted in Plants & Animals