Does Mounjaro cause hair loss?

Reviewed by Beverly Tchang, MD, 

Written by Abbi Havens 

Reviewed by Beverly Tchang, MD, 

Written by Abbi Havens 

last updated: Jun 24, 2024

4 min read

Key takeaways

  • While hair loss is not listed as a common side effect of Mounjaro, it has been reported in some studies and anecdotal accounts on the internet. 

  • Sudden and drastic weight loss, such as that induced by Mounjaro, may cause a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium.

  • Hair loss on Mounjaro typically starts to resolve by the 6 month mark, but it’s important to consult your healthcare provider if you notice any changes with your strands.

Like any other medication, Mounjaro (tirzepatide) can cause side effects, the most common of which are nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. But what about hair loss or thinning? 

While hair loss is not listed as a side effect on the prescribing information of Mounjaro, many people have taken to social media (see: Reddit, TikTok) to share their experiences with hair loss and shedding while on the drug. So, it makes sense if you’re wondering whether the drug can actually affect your strands and if so, why. 

Ahead, we break down why Mounjaro can cause hair loss for some and share ways to treat and prevent the potential side effect. 

Mounjaro Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

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Does Mounjaro cause hair loss?

As mentioned above, hair loss is not included as a side effect on the prescribing information for Mounjaro. But research on Zepbound, which also contains tirzepatide as the active ingredient, has found that the drug can lead to hair loss. In clinical trials, 4-5% of participants who took Zepbound (tirzepatide) said they experienced hair loss as opposed to 1% of people using a placebo.  

So, now the question remains: why can Mounjaro cause hair loss in some people? 

Mounjaro is a dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist (dual GIP/GLP-1 for short), meaning it works by mimicking the effects of two hormones (GIP and GLP-1). Mounjaro tells the pancreas to increase the amount of insulin released after eating and prevents the liver from making additional sugar, which lowers and stabilizes blood sugars. The drug also increases the time it takes for food to move from the stomach to intestines, helping you feel fuller sooner and longer. 

While Mounjaro is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes, it’s sometimes prescribed off-label for weight management because of its impressive effects on weight. For example, in a large study of 2,500+ participants (with a BMI of 30 or more, or 27 or more and at least one weight-related complication), over half of those taking the highest dose of tirzepatide (the active ingredient in Mounjaro) lost 20% or more of their body weight after 72 weeks (a little over a year).

Point being: Mounjaro can lead to significant and speedy weight loss—and that’s one of the main reasons it can cause hair loss. The type of hair loss typically associated with Mounjaro is called telogen effluvium (TE), which is triggered by big changes to the body (such as extreme weight loss), trauma, and stress. TE is characterized by hair loss from all over the scalp, in a pattern that is distinct from other types of hair loss, such as “male-patterned baldness” or “androgenic alopecia.”

In a healthy scalp, hair follicles cycle between phases. The majority of the follicles are in the growth (anagen) phase while the others are in the resting (telogen) phase, during which you shed 100-150 strands daily. But when you lose a lot of weight very quickly, for example, your brain signals to your body to send more hair follicles into the resting phase. This leads to increased shedding. The good news? TE usually lasts between 3-6 months, after which hair regrowth starts 

Another reason for hair loss on Mounjaro? Nutrient deficiencies. Because the drug decreases your hunger, you may eat fewer calories overall and potentially miss some key nutrients, which are essential for healthy hair growth. 

Zepbound Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

How common is Mounjaro hair loss?

While weight loss is a possible side effect of taking Mounjaro, most people will not experience hair loss from the treatment. As mentioned earlier, in clinical trials, only 4.9–5.7% of participants who took Mounjaro over the course of 2 years reported hair loss.  

When does Mounjaro hair loss start?

Hair loss or hair shedding while on Mounjaro—i.e. TE—typically starts approximately 2-3 months after the start of the weight loss and may continue for several months. When weight loss begins to stabilize and your body adjusts to your new medication, adverse side effects, such as hair loss, nausea, and diarrhea usually begin to resolve

If you experience significant hair loss on Mounjaro, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to see if there is another underlying cause of hair loss that could be addressed. 

How to prevent and treat Mounjaro hair loss

While there aren’t that many ways to prevent hair loss on Mounjaro, there are plenty of things you can do if you start to experience this side effect. 

First and foremost, contact your healthcare provider, as they can help rule out additional common causes of hair loss. Certain health conditions (e.g. thyroid disease) as well as other medications (e.g. antidepressants, oral contraceptives, among others) can lead to hair loss. Your healthcare provider might also have you get a blood test to check for nutrient deficiencies, as low levels of certain vitamins and minerals, such as omega-3 fatty acids and zinc, have been linked to hair loss and shedding. 

Speaking of which, it’s important to follow a balanced diet while taking Mounjaro—after all, the medication is meant to be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. Plus, eating a range of nutrient-rich foods, such as those high in protein and fiber, can help you achieve your weight loss goals and support your hair health. 

Although frustrating, hair loss on Mounjaro tends to be temporary. But there are certain treatments, such as minoxidil, that might be worth discussing with your healthcare provider as well. As always, it’s best to talk to an expert before giving anything a go.

Oral Minoxidil Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

DISCLAIMER

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

June 24, 2024

Written by

Abbi Havens

Fact checked by

Beverly Tchang, MD


About the medical reviewer

Beverly Tchang, MD, is an Obesity Medicine Advisor for Ro. She is also an assistant professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and triple board-certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, and Obesity Medicine.

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