In recent years, more patients have turned to social media platforms to share their hair loss experiences after using weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro. While these medications are FDA-approved for individuals with type 2 diabetes, they have gained popularity among those seeking weight loss, regardless of diabetes or clinical obesity. Although hair loss is not a recognized side effect of Ozempic, clinical trials indicate that some users of these drugs have reported experiencing hair loss. This article aims to shed light on the signs of weight loss drug-related hair loss, its possible causes, and potential remedies. Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro are all drugs that can be used to treat type 2 diabetes, but they have also been in the news lately due to their use for weight loss.
Which weight loss drugs have been associated with hair loss?
1. Ozempic (semaglutide):
Ozempic is a prescription drug used to manage type 2 diabetes alongside diet and exercise. It helps improve blood sugar control and lowers the risk of events like heart attack or stroke. It is not used to treat type 1 diabetes and is not insulin. In the U.S., the FDA has approved Ozempic for type 2 diabetes to help prevent serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke in people with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It may also be used off-label for weight loss in patients who are overweight to improve health outcomes like high blood pressure. Ozempic works by improving patients' blood sugar levels and reducing their appetite. It also helps prevent the liver from releasing too much sugar.
2. Wegovy (semaglutide):
Wegovy is the same medication as Ozempic (semaglutide) and works similarly, though Wegovy has a higher maximum dose. While Ozempic is FDA-approved for diabetes, Wegovy has full FDA approval for weight loss. In June 2021, Wegovy was approved for chronic weight management in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m2 or greater with at least one weight-related condition, like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol, or a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater. Wegovy, just like Ozempic, is a GLP-1 receptor agonist. It helps regulate blood sugar and keeps the body fuller longer between meals, which can contribute to weight loss. The drug also helps suppress the liver from producing too much sugar.
Mounjaro is a drug by Eli Lilly used to manage type 2 diabetes in conjunction with diet and exercise. Unlike Ozempic and Wegovy, Mounjaro targets two primary hormones that regulate blood sugar levels and aid in weight loss: GLP-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). Approved by the FDA in May 2022 for treating type 2 diabetes, Mounjaro is also used off-label for obesity and is on the fast track for approval for weight loss. The drug lowers blood sugar levels, increases insulin sensitivity, slows the digestive system, and decreases appetite, leading to weight loss. Mounjaro is administered as a once-a-week injection and can be used alongside insulin. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, and stomach pain, with rare but severe side effects including pancreatitis, low blood sugar, kidney failure, allergic reactions, and gallbladder problems. It may also cause tumors in the thyroid, and patients with a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma are advised not to use the medication. Despite potential side effects, Mounjaro can significantly improve health outcomes for patients struggling with obesity.
Contrave is a prescription medication containing the active ingredients naltrexone and bupropion, and it's approved by the FDA for assisting weight loss in adults with obesity or those who are overweight with related health issues like high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. This drug is generally used for long-term weight management and should be accompanied by lifestyle changes such as improved diet and exercise. The medication belongs to the drug classes of opioid antagonists and antidepressants.
Hair loss was reported in Contrave's clinical trials. Although it wasn't common, it occurred more frequently in people taking Contrave than those taking a placebo. That said, the actual change in diet can reduce the levels of vitamins, minerals, and proteins needed for healthy hair growth, leading to excessive hair shedding.
Signs of Weight Loss Drug-Related Hair Loss:
Hair loss associated with weight loss drugs can be distressing for individuals who experience it. What makes it particularly striking is the absence of scalp symptoms such as pain or itching. Instead, individuals may notice excessive hair shedding when running their hands through their hair. This unexpected hair loss can be disturbing.
Understanding the Connection:
Hair loss is not a documented side effect of Ozempic. However, clinical trials for Wegovy and Mounjaro have revealed that approximately 3% of Wegovy users and up to 6% of Mounjaro users reported hair loss or alopecia. In clinical trials of Wegovy (a separate version of semaglutide), only 3% of adults reported hair loss as an adverse reaction, compared to 1% on a placebo. In studies of another weight loss drug called terzepatide, 5.7% of patients reported experiencing hair loss versus less than 1% on a placebo.
One dermatologist noted that some of his patients on semaglutide have observed their hair becoming thinner and more brittle. However, most dermatologists believe that the cause of excessive hair shedding related to weight-loss drugs is telogen effluvium, triggered by weight reduction and nutrient deficiencies caused by changes in food intake.
Addressing Hair Loss Associated with Weight Loss Drugs:
Treatments for individuals experiencing hair loss while using these medications are available to prevent further hair loss and promote regrowth. Some key ingredients to look for in topical scalp serums, shampoos, and supplements include:
1. Vitamins and Minerals: Essential for hair regrowth, these nutrients can be found in topical scalp serums, shampoos, and supplements.
2. Amino Acids and Peptides: Collagen powders and other supplements containing these components can support hair regrowth.
Finding Solutions: MDhair Treatment System
One effective example of a treatment system specifically formulated to address hair loss associated with weight loss drugs is the MDhair treatment system. This comprehensive system includes a scalp treatment, supplements, and collagen products that support hair regrowth. With its targeted approach, MDhair aims to counter the effects of hair loss caused by weight loss drugs.
Using MDhair products while taking weight loss treatments is a good idea. With MDhair, we can counteract these effects by providing a comprehensive suite of products that replenish the necessary micronutrients and proteins, stimulate blood circulation in the scalp, and help switch the hair follicles from their resting phase to active growth. For optimal results, consider a kit that includes the scalp treatment serum, active shampoo, and customized Restore Supplements, which contain the vitamins and minerals and collagen peptides that provide the amino acids, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins needed for hair growth.
Q: Is hair loss a recognized side effect of Ozempic?
A: No, hair loss is not officially listed as a side effect of Ozempic. However, it has been reported by some users of Wegovy and Mounjaro.
Q: Can hair loss caused by weight loss drugs be permanent?
A: In most cases, hair loss associated with weight loss drugs is temporary, and regrowth is possible once the underlying cause is addressed.
Q: How can I minimize the side effects of weight loss drugs?
A: To minimize side effects like nausea, it is essential to start with the lowest dose and gradually increase it as advised by your healthcare provider. Slow dose escalation can help reduce the likelihood and intensity of side effects.
Q: Are there any other potential side effects of weight loss drugs?
A: Nausea and diarrhea are the most common side effects reported by individuals using Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro. Other possible side effects include vomiting and constipation.
While hair loss is not officially recognized as a side effect of Ozempic, some individuals using weight loss drugs like Wegovy and Mounjaro have reported experiencing temporary hair loss. This could be attributed to the significant weight loss often associated with these medications. If you are using these drugs and notice hair loss, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider for guidance. They may recommend treatments containing vital nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and peptides, to support hair regrowth. The MDhair treatment system is one example of a comprehensive approach designed to address hair loss caused by weight loss drugs. Remember to start at the lowest dosage and follow your healthcare provider's instructions to minimize side effects and maximize the benefits of these medications.
Find the most effective hair growth products for you by taking the free hair assessment.