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Does Adderall Cause Hair Loss?

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Steph Coelho

Published 09/17/2017

Updated 01/07/2024

You finally have an ADHD (aka attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) or narcolepsy diagnosis, and you’re taking Adderall® to help with your symptoms.

We love to see it.

Many prescription meds list hair loss as a side effect because they can interrupt the hair growth cycle. So it’s fair to wonder if Adderall® can cause shedding.

Like any medication, side effects can happen. And although certain adverse effects like hair loss might seem trivial to some, it can be jarring to suddenly notice clumps of hair whirling down the drain.

We have good-ish news. While it can happen, Adderall-related hair loss is uncommon. 

Let’s dig into the link between Adderall and hair loss, how common it is and whether something else might be causing you to lose your once-luscious locks. 

We’ll also cover whether Adderall hair loss is permanent and how to stop this side effect in its tracks if it’s happening to you.

We don’t like to beat around the bush, so let’s set the record straight. Does Adderall make your hair fall out?

Stimulant medications like Adderall, dextroamphetamine and Ritalin might cause you to shed more hair than usual. Thinning hair isn’t a common result of taking ADHD stimulant drugs, but alopecia (the fancy medical term for hair loss) is a possible side effect — according to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) label.

There’s also research linking hair loss to prescription stimulants like Adderall, specifically amphetamines.

The medication itself may not be the direct cause of hair loss, though. Adderall use might indirectly lead to excess shedding, thanks to the secondary effects it can have on your body (and mind).

Potential side effects of taking Adderall include:

  • Headaches

  • Feeling nervous or jittery

  • Dizziness

  • Constipation or diarrhea (ugh, pick a lane!)

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Nausea

  • A dip in sex drive or sexual function

  • Sleep issues

Contact your healthcare provider if any of these side effects are severe or affecting your daily life.

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One small retrospective case study looked at dermatology clinic medical records for patients aged six to 18 with various types of alopecia. Researchers found a strong association between alopecia universalis and ADHD stimulant meds.

Here’s the thing: The study was small, involving 124 cases — only three involving alopecia universalis. And there was no evidence of a link between stimulant use and other types of alopecia.

Plus, it’s important to point out that the study didn’t look at Adderall, specifically.

Some case studies suggest that hair loss and thinning can happen when taking stimulants. But case studies aren’t a good indication of what can happen at a population level. Sure, individual medical cases can be interesting, but they just don’t provide enough data for a definitive conclusion.

It’s also worth noting that if you notice more shedding than usual while taking Adderall, factors other than medication alone could be at play.

Take weight loss, for instance — one of the most common side effects of Adderall.

Weight loss is a top cause of a form of temporary hair shedding known as telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium happens when your body goes through a stressful event, whether emotional or physical. Sudden, rapid weight loss is one possible trigger.

And since Adderall can make you feel a bit barfy or suppress your appetite, you might not be taking in enough nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies can also cause hair loss.

An uptick in stress can cause this type of hair thinning, too. And taking a new medication, even if it helps with your symptoms, can definitely be stressful.

Compound that with the fact that Adderall can mess with your ability to fall and stay asleep (it’s a stimulant, after all) — and voila! — a perfect recipe for temporary stress-related hair shedding. And to bring it full circle, lack of sleep can spike your cortisol and lead to higher stress levels.

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Adderall shedding is different from hair loss due to male pattern baldness (aka male androgenetic alopecia).

A combo of genetic factors and the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone, are responsible for the permanent balding that causes a receding hairline. Some folks are just more sensitive to the effects of DHT (gee, thanks, genetics), which can bind to receptors on that pretty head of yours and miniaturize your hair follicles.

Miniaturization doesn’t just slow hair growth. It eventually stops it altogether, causing bald areas at the crown typical of male pattern baldness.

You can find out more about miniaturizing by checking out our guide to DHT and male pattern baldness.

Any hair you lose from taking Adderall, on the other hand, will likely grow back. That’s because the shedding is likely triggered by an interruption in the hair growth cycle — not due to permanent damage to the hair follicles.

If you just started taking Adderall and are concerned about recent hair shedding, it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider. They may recommend switching meds or adjusting your dose.

PSA: Don’t start messing with your medication dose or stop taking it without talking to a healthcare professional first. 

Treatment for Adderall-related hair loss depends on the root (heh) cause.

Maintaining Good Hair Health While Taking Adderall

Here’s how to prevent hair loss while on Adderall.

If you have hair loss resulting from a nutritional deficiency, you might benefit from a diet adjustment. This could involve incorporating more nutrient-dense foods, taking biotin gummies or both.

Finding healthy stress-coping mechanisms may help if you’re experiencing stress or anxiety-related shedding with Adderall use. Find what works for you — whether it’s meditation, running or reading a good book. 

Consider talking with your healthcare provider if that jittery, anxious feeling doesn’t go away. They may adjust your dosage, switch your meds or refer you to another mental health professional.

Stress in check, but still experiencing hair loss? 

Haircare products like our volumizing shampoo, volumizing conditioner and thickening shampoo with saw palmetto may help minimize temporary hair shedding. 

These medicated products can also help with hair thinning:

Hair loss treatments, delivered

Taking Adderall isn’t likely to affect your hairline, but hair loss is a possible side effect. 

Still, it’s not the medication itself that leads to temporary shedding, but what happens as a result of you taking it. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • You might change your eating habits while taking Adderall. Side effects like nausea and headaches can mess with your appetite, making mealtimes less appealing than usual.

  • Stress can impact your appetite, too. Adderall can make it tougher to get a good night’s sleep. As a result, it might be harder to cope with day-to-day stressors. 

  • All these factors can contribute to telogen effluvium. Higher stress levels, rapid weight loss and nutrient deficiencies are potential triggers for temporary hair loss.

Not sure what to do about this new shedding? Start an online consultation with a healthcare professional to discuss hair loss treatments from Hims.

If you think your hair fallout is due to stress and are struggling to cope, consider looking into online mental health services.

Want to learn more about the potential side effects of Adderall? Check out our guide to Adderall and ED.

12 Sources

  1. Adderall® CII (Dextroamphetamine Saccharate, Amphetamine Aspartate, Dextroamphetamine Sulfate and Amphetamine Sulfate Tablets). (2017, January). Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/011522s043lbl.pdf
  2. Hughes, E.C. & Saleh, D. (2020, June 9). Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
  3. Meaux TA, McMahon PM, Jones GN, Bush AE, Kennedy JJ, Poche GW. Association of Alopecia Areata With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Stimulant Medication: A Case-Control Study. Ochsner J. 2021 Summer;21(2):139-142. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34239372/
  4. Do you have hair loss or hair shedding? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding
  5. Gnanavel, S., & Hussain, S. (2018). Alopecia Associated with Use of Methylphenidate: A Case Series. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 40(4), 370–371. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6065136/
  6. Narine, C., Sarwar, S. R., & Rais, T. B. (2013). Adderall-induced Trichotillomania: A Case Report. Innovations in clinical neuroscience, 10(7-8), 13–14. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779907/
  7. Almohanna, H. M., Ahmed, A. A., Tsatalis, J. P., & Tosti, A. (2019). The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatology and therapy, 9(1), 51–70. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
  8. Asfour, L., et al. (25, Jan 2023). Male androgenetic alopecia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278957
  9. Kinter, K.J., et al. (30, July 2023). Biochemistry, dihydrotestosterone. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557634/
  10. Zito, P.M., et al. (25, Aug 2022). Finasteride. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/
  11. Patel P, et al. (24, Aug 2023). Minoxidil. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  12. Shoar, N.S., Marwaha, R. & Molla, M. (2020, November 29). Dextroamphetamine-Amphetamine. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507808/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 

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