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Does Mounjaro Cause Hair Loss? Expert Review (2024)
Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Updated on February 13, 2024

Mounjaro is a new and promising medication, recently approved in the US and the UK for treating type diabetes and weight loss. However, like any drug, it can also have adverse effects, and a lesser-known one is that Mounjaro can cause hair loss. Since about 4-5% of patients who take this drug experience alopecia, it can be considered a common unwanted side effect [1][2]. 

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if you start a Mounjaro treatment, you are going to experience hair shedding This depends on your personal characteristics and the way your body reacts to the medication.

It also doesn’t mean that any kind of hair loss you notice during your treatment course is necessarily caused by Mounjaro. You may be developing an unrelated condition that causes your hair to fall out, such as androgenetic alopecia, a common scalp problem or alopecia areata. That is why it is best to see a trichologist, who can provide you with a proper diagnosis.  

If you are currently taking Mounjaro and it is causing hair thinning, make sure you mention this adverse effect to your healthcare provider. They may be able to provide you with treatment alternatives which don’t have a detrimental effect on your hair. In any case, it is not recommended to interrupt prescribed treatment unless advised to do so by your physician.

Keep reading this article to learn more about:

  • What Mounjaro is and how it works
  • The relationship between Mounjaro and hair loss
  • Ways to reduce unnecessary hair loss while taking Mounjaro
  • Other medications that can cause hair loss    
Table of Contents
Mounjaro injection pen

What is Mounjaro?

Mounjaro is the brand name for a substance called tirzepatide, developed by US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. It has recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) for use in treating type 2 diabetes and in weight loss management. In the UK, it has been approved in 2023, by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), for treating type 2 diabetes on the NHS [3] and, in 2024, it also received the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval for weight loss use [4].

Mounjaro is an injectable medication, available in the form of quick-use, prefilled pens. There are several concentrations available (2.5 mg – 15 mg/dose), as you can start with the lowest dose and increase it gradually if needed, 2.5 mg at a time, as per your body’s response and your healthcare provider’s recommendation. Normally, one dose of Mounjaro per week is sufficient [5]. 

How does Mounjaro work?

When taken for type 2 diabetes, Mounjaro works by increasing the production of insulin in your body and decreasing the amount of glucose produced by your liver [3]. This essentially means that it will lower your blood sugar when it gets too high. 

When used for weight loss, it works by regulating your appetite, making you feel fuller for a longer time and reducing food cravings. This should lead to consuming fewer calories and thus facilitating weight reduction. 

shedded hair from hair brushing

Does Mounjaro cause hair loss?

While this medication is new and further research is needed to determine its impact on hair follicles, preliminary studies and patient reports suggest that Mounjaro can indeed cause hair loss.

A meta-analysis performed on 8 studies, with a total number of 8847 participants who received Mounjaro over 2 years revealed that approximately 5.7% of them experienced alopecia [2]. A different study found a 4% hair loss rate in patients treated with tirzepatide (the active substance in Mounjaro), compared to 0.7% in the placebo group [1].

These findings determined the company which produces Mounjaro to add hair loss to the list of potential adverse reactions, marked as a common event. The FDA is also currently investigating reports of hair loss and suicidal thoughts in diabetes and weight loss medication such as Mounjaro, Ozempic and Wegovy [6] 

The mechanisms which make Mounjaro cause alopecia are still being researched. There are theories that the hair shedding could be caused by the impact of tirzepatide on your hormonal activity or your metabolism. Rapid weight loss is sometimes associated with nutritional deficiencies, which can cause hair loss, so rebalancing the diet to ensure you are getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals can help prevent hair loss

Can Mounjaro help reduce hair loss?

Some studies suggest that type 2 diabetes can predispose you to hair loss because high blood sugar can lead to impaired blood flow to your scalp, depriving your hair follicles of oxygen and nutrients [7]. Moreover, a study performed on 5389 African American women with type 2 diabetes revealed an increased risk of severe central scalp hair loss [8]. While more research is needed to confirm a causal relationship between this condition and alopecia, using Mounjaro to manage your blood sugar levels better may result in reduced hair loss in diabetic patients. 

There may also be good news for non-diabetic patients who use Mounjaro for weight loss. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is often associated with excess weight, is known to cause hair loss [14]. And some animal studies suggest obesity itself might accelerate hair thinning [9] While Mounjaro has already been approved for weight loss treatment, it may also be helpful in the management of PCOS [10] That means it could prevent additional hair loss by lowering body weight and helping control the symptoms of PCOS. However, these effects are yet to be confirmed through clinical trials.

man examining his hairline

Will stopping the Mounjaro treatment make my hair grow back?

Since Mounjaro is only effective while you are taking it, stopping treatment may result in the cessation of its adverse effects, including hair loss. However, if your alopecia is the result of vitamin deficiencies that cause hair loss, brought on by Mounjaro-induced accelerated weight reduction, supplementing the deficient nutrients may not necessarily result in hair regrowth[11].  

It is always a good idea to discuss your intentions to discontinue treatment with your healthcare provider. They will help you weigh the benefits of the treatment against its adverse effects and may offer solutions to effectively manage your hair loss, such as rebalancing your diet.

 

How can you reduce unnecessary hair loss on Mounjaro

There are several things that you can do to stimulate your hair growth and avoid unnecessary hair shedding when taking Moujanaro:

Man using minoxidil on bald scalp to treat hair loss

Use hair growth treatments

Several scientifically proven medications and therapies can help reduce medication-induced hair loss and stimulate your follicles for hair growth. The most frequently recommended hair growth drug is Minoxidil. Most often used topically, it dilates the blood vessels in your scalp, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach your hair follicles [12]. However, make sure you get a medical professional’s recommendation before taking any hair growth medication, as it may have unwanted side effects or interfere with your current treatments.

As for some of the most efficient therapies, you can try derma rolling for hair growth (you can even use a derma roller and Minoxidil together for enhanced hair growth), as well as red light therapy for hair

fresh fruit and vegetables with lean protein

Get sufficient nutrients in your diet

While you may be on a strict diet that helps you manage your diabetes or achieve weight loss, it is still important to get the nutrients your body needs. Some vitamin deficiencies (such as vitamin D for hair or Vitamin E for hair) can cause hair loss, among other complications, so it may be a good idea to supplement the micronutrients you are not getting from your diet. 

person breaking cigarette

Limit or quit smoking

It is a known fact that smoking causes hair loss, by making your blood vessels constrict and reducing blood flow to your hair follicles [13]. While more research is needed to determine this, vaping may also cause hair loss, because e-cigarettes also contain nicotine. So it is best to reduce your overall amount of nicotine intake. 

Woman's hair being succumbed to various treatments

Avoid frequent heat styling

Excessive heat styling can lead to dry, brittle hair that is easy to break. This hair breakage can add to your Moujanaro hair loss. So it may be best to let your hair dry naturally and use cooler settings on your heat-styling devices. 

portrait of a red haired woman in the sun

Reduce unprotected exposure to the sun

Spending a long time in the sunlight is not good for your hair, as it can dry out your strands. Make sure to wear a hat when going out in hot weather, to avoid summer hair loss

person getting their hair dyed in a salon

Avoid using harsh chemicals on your hair

Excessive use of bleach or hair dye can cause hair loss, as they can damage your hair shaft and follicles. But even shampoos with harsh detergents, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can strip the natural oils off your scalp and hair, making it dry and brittle.

blond ponytail

Avoid wearing tight hairstyles

Tight hairstyles, such as braids or ponytails can cause hair loss. That is because they can lead to a condition called traction alopecia, where constant tension placed on your hair follicles damages them, making them temporarily unable to produce hair in the most affected areas (usually, the hairline and fringe). Wearing heavy hair extensions can cause hair loss as well, through the same mechanism. 

person meditating to sunrise

Reduce your stress levels

Psychological stress and anxiety can cause hair loss, especially if you are already under physical strain from a condition such as diabetes or obesity. Exercising, meditation or undergoing therapy can help you lower your stress levels. 

What other medications can cause hair loss?

While chemotherapy-induced hair loss is often the first that comes to mind when thinking about treatments that can lead to alopecia, it is far from alone. Several types of medication can cause hair loss (albeit far less pronounced than chemotherapy). The most common of these are:

  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Certain heart medications
  • Certain kinds of antibiotics
  • Antifungal medications 
  • Some antidepressants
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. painkillers like Ibuprofen or Aspirin) 
  • Excessive Vitamin A for hair
  • Other weight loss medications (e.g. Wegovy may cause hair loss)

However, this does not mean that everyone who takes this kind of medication will necessarily experience hair loss. It depends on your personal characteristics and your individual physical response.

If you are concerned that certain treatments you are taking are making your hair fall out, it is best to discuss this with the physician who prescribed them, to see if there are more hair-friendly alternatives. 

Are you concerned about hair loss?

If you are taking Mounjaro and are experiencing excessive hair shedding, the best thing you can do is to book a consultation with a trichologist. They will run all the necessary tests (e.g. a dermoscopy, a scalp biopsy, or hair loss blood tests) to accurately diagnose your hair loss.

That is because if your hair thinning is not medication-induced, but a result of a condition such as androgenetic alopecia, or even a common scalp problem (e.g. scalp psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis) it is best to get treatment from the first signs of hair thinning and balding. This will prevent the hair loss from advancing and, depending on the nature and severity of your condition, may result in hair regrowth.

If you should find that your condition is too advanced to be reversed with non-surgical treatment, don’t lose hope. You may still be a good candidate for a hair transplant. This is a simple and effective procedure which involves harvesting hair follicles from healthy areas on your scalp (e.g. the back or sides of the head) and reimplanting them in your balding areas.

While hair transplant costs can appear high, keep in mind that a hair transplant is permanent, unlike other hair loss treatments which only work for as long as you are taking them. It is a highly safe and effective procedure, as the best hair transplant clinics in the UK have a 97-100% success rate. Their results speak for themselves, as you can see in our before and after hair transplant gallery.

Does Mounjaro Cause Hair Loss? Expert Review (2024), Wimpole Clinic

Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)Updated on February 13, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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