As Mounjaro gains popularity as a treatment option for weight loss and blood sugar management, some people have expressed concerns about the drug and its potential side effects.
One such concern is whether Mounjaro can cause hair loss in patients. Although the prevalence of hair loss associated with Mounjaro is low, it is a valid concern for those considering the medication as a treatment option.
In this article, we will explore the incidence of hair loss associated with Mounjaro, the potential causes of hair loss in patients taking the medication, and what you can do if you are experiencing hair loss while taking Mounjaro.
By understanding the facts and potential causes of hair loss while taking Mounjaro, you can make informed decisions about your treatment options and take proactive steps to address any concerns.
Who Experienced Hair Loss After Using Mounjaro?
Mounjaro is prescribed as an off-label treatment for weight loss, meaning that doctors may prescribe Mounjaro for individuals who are overweight. However, it is not currently an approved treatment for the condition.
Dr Vijaya Surampudi, Assistant Director of the Los-Angeles based UCLA weight management program, reassures that “hair loss is unlikely related to the drugs” but is a temporary effect of weight loss.
6% of patients on higher doses of Mounjaro reported alopecia, while 1% on the placebo also reported hair loss. For the weight-loss drug Wegovy, 3% of participants also reported hair loss during the clinical trial phase.
Eli Lilly confirmed with NBC News that hair loss was temporary and not limited solely to Mounjaro. Eli Lilly is highly confident in the drug and has since moved on to Clinical Trial 3b, which will see the pharma titan place Mounjaro as a direct competitor against Novo’s approved drug Wegovy.
The trial lasts 78 weeks and will be complete in February 2025. The measurement of success will be whether patients show a significant percentage of weight loss throughout the trial.
Why Does Weight Loss Lead To Temporary Hair Loss?
Weight loss and stress are often linked together. In particular, individuals who embark on restrictive diets report higher stress levels.
A Psychosomatic Medicine study revealed that participants who closely monitored their daily caloric intake reported a significant increase in perceived stress.
Hair loss and stress are two commonly interlinked conditions. Research shows that stress can inhibit the stem cells needed to help with hair growth.
Individuals who embark on calorie-controlled or restrictive diets may exhibit hair loss symptoms due to increased cortisol levels and the stress they put on their bodies.
At Weight Wise, we help our clients pair weight-loss treatments with healthy lifestyle habits, like exercise and balanced nutrition.
Long-term sustained weight loss with accompanying treatment plans will help reduce the risk of hair loss and keep your stress levels low and your health high.
Even if you aren’t stressed, your body might temporarily think it is when taking weight loss drugs.
As individuals taking weight loss drugs often lose a significant amount of their body weight in a relatively short period, your body might think it needs to conserve resources for some of the body’s more essential functions.
This means that it might stop investing in resources for hair growth, leading to more hair than usual shedding.
How Does Hair Loss Happen?
Hair follicles produce your hair in the outer layer of the skin. As the follicles grow, they push older hair cells up and out of the skin. Your hair is made up of a string of old hair cells!
Your hair falls into four growth categories as a natural part of its lifecycle:
- The anagen phase – the growth phase of the hair cycle, when new hair is formed.
- The catagen phase – the end of active hair growth for a specific set of hair cells.
- The telogen phase – when hair strands stay in their follicles but no longer grow.
- The exogen phase – where individual strands fall out of their follicles for the growth process to start again.
Hair loss occurs when its growth cycle is disrupted. The anagen phase (the growth phase) is cut short, and the telogen phase begins earlier. Once your body adjusts to weight loss, it will stop cutting short the anagen phase, and the growth cycle should return to normal.
Is Hair Loss Permanent?
Hair loss as a result of weight loss is very rarely permanent. Once your body adjusts to your new weight, it will often resume its normal functions and the natural hair cycle.
Patients undergoing weight loss surgery are often warned that they may lose hair up to three months after surgery.
Temporary hair loss due to perceived body stress is known as telogen effluvium. After a significant change or a sustained period of stress, your body will divert vitamins and minerals to the rest of your body.
It thinks your body is under attack and sends more nutrients to replenish the body. Once weight stabilizes, your hair loss will usually stop, and the hair will grow back.
How Can I Reduce The Chances Of Hair Loss While Using Mounjaro?
You can take steps to reduce the chances of hair loss while using Mounjaro or other weight-loss drugs.
- Following the nutritional and exercise plan outlined by your consultant as a supplement to Mounjaro.
- Take nutritional supplements, including zinc, Vitamins A, B, and C, and iron. Ask your consultant for advice on what other supplements you can take to ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs. Ensure you’re only taking recommended doses, as too many supplements may also cause hair loss.
- Include protein in your diet with meals and snacks within the guidelines recommended by your consultant.
- Stick with the weight loss drug using the exact guidelines recommended. Changing intake can affect the results of your weight loss and worsen hair loss as you aren’t giving your body a chance to adjust to the weight loss.
What Should I Do If I Am Concerned About Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be a concerning and distressing experience for many people. While Mounjaro is not commonly associated with hair loss as a side effect, it’s important to address any concerns you may have with your primary care physician.
They can help evaluate your hair loss and determine if it is related to Mounjaro or any other factors, such as underlying medical conditions, medications, or lifestyle factors.
Your primary care physician may refer you to a dermatologist or other specialist for further evaluation and treatment options.
They can also provide guidance on potential strategies to manage hair loss, such as lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, or topical or oral medications.
Don’t hesitate to bring up any concerns you have about hair loss with your primary care physician. By addressing it early on, you can work towards finding a solution and alleviating any distress or anxiety it may be causing.