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Does Ozempic Cause Hair Loss?

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Sian Ferguson

Published 06/03/2024

Updated 05/29/2024

Many men experience hair loss, and some have diabetes. But can a medication for diabetes cause baldness or thinning? Does Ozempic® cause hair loss?

There’s lots to worry about when living with diabetes, from safe dietary choices to insulin levels. Medication-related side effects might also be part of that list.

Although hair loss isn’t a listed side effect of Ozempic, some people have reported it. Wegovy®, a medication with the same active ingredient as Ozempic, can sometimes cause excessive hair shedding. Similar medications, namely Mounjaro® and Zepbound®, are associated with a mild risk of hair loss.

At the same time, weight loss itself can sometimes trigger hair loss. So if you lose weight from using Ozempic, it may take its toll on your hair follicles.

Whether you’re about to start taking the medication or have already been on it for some time, there are a few things you need to know about Ozempic and hair loss.

Ozempic is a brand-name version of semaglutide. It’s in a drug class called glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists — also known as GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Semaglutide (and Ozempic) is a prescription medication that helps your body secrete insulin as it should. In other words, it can treat diabetes.

Regular doses of this injectable medication can help people with type 2 diabetes make insulin for themselves again. This can help with managing blood sugar levels and reduce dependency on synthetic insulin.

Another plus? Semaglutide has been shown to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, like heart attacks and heart disease, in folks with type 2 diabetes and diagnosed cardiovascular disease.

Those are incredible benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. Drug therapy with semaglutide can be effective as part of a plan for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

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But diabetes isn’t the only reason someone might want to use Ozempic. Recently, Ozempic dominated headlines because it’s being used off-label for weight loss. For those who struggle with weight management, a little subcutaneous injection may seem like an easy solution.

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) hasn’t approved Ozempic for weight loss. However, Wegovy — a different brand-name medication containing semaglutide — is an FDA-approved weight loss medication.

You might have heard Ozempic mentioned in the same breath as Zepbound and Mounjaro. These two medications contain tirzepatide, not semaglutide. Zepbound is an FDA-approved weight management treatment, while Mounjaro is approved for treating type 2 diabetes.

Typically, semaglutide and similar medications aren’t first-line treatments for diabetes or weight loss. Instead, they’re used when nutrition and exercise changes fail to deliver the sort of response that helps you achieve blood sugar control.

Whether you’re using Ozempic for diabetes or weight management, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects.

The most common side effects of semaglutide are gastrointestinal issues like:

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Increased heart rate

  • Nausea

  • Reduced appetite

  • Vomiting

Rarer but more serious side effects of semaglutide include:

  • Allergic reactions

  • Blurred vision

  • Diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition that can lead to vision loss

  • Gallbladder issues

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

  • Kidney issues

  • Pancreatitis

One issue that isn’t on the list? Hair loss.

We’ll get into that in the next section.

Ozempic doesn’t seem to cause hair loss directly, according to any research or primary sources we could put our eyes on.

The FDA materials included in the packaging for Ozempic don’t mention any hair-related adverse effects.

Does Wegovy Cause Hair Loss?

But what about other semaglutide medications, like Wegovy? According to the Wegovy package insert, this medication might cause hair loss in rare cases.

In placebo-controlled clinical trials, three percent of Wegovy patients reported hair loss, while one percent of patients on placebo medication reported hair loss.

Does Mounjaro Cause Hair Loss?

Hair loss isn’t listed as a side effect of Mounjaro in its package insert. However, in one clinical trial that explored the side effects of tirzepatide for weight loss, 5.7 percent of participants who took the highest dose (15 milligrams once a week) noticed hair loss compared to one percent of those who got a placebo.

Also, hair loss has been reported as a common side effect of Zepbound, which, as noted, also contains tirzepatide. In placebo-controlled clinical trials, four to five percent of users experienced hair loss, as opposed to one percent of participants who received placebos.

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You may have heard of people on Ozempic losing their hair and wonder why this is. Surprisingly, it might have more to do with diabetes and weight loss than the medication.

Why does Ozempic cause hair loss? While Ozempic may not specifically cause hair loss, thinning hair might coincide with semaglutide use.

There are two main reasons why this might be. First, diabetes can cause hair loss. Second, weight loss might trigger hair loss.

Diabetes and Hair Loss

Hair loss is often triggered by genetic factors, which is the case with androgenic alopecia, the clinical term for male pattern baldness. And men and women can both lose hair as they age.

But age and genetics aren’t the only factors. Diseases like lupus and certain thyroid problems can also cause hair loss, as can stress, poor diet, and medications like chemotherapy drugs.

Diabetes is just one of the conditions on that list.

Some experts associate type 2 diabetes with an increased risk of alopecia areata and frontal fibrosing alopecia — two types of hair loss associated with autoimmune diseases.

Weight Loss Drugs and Hair Loss

Ozempic is sometimes used off-label to manage weight loss. Even if you’re using Ozempic for diabetes, weight loss might be one of the side effects.

And when you lose weight quickly, you’re also at risk for shedding hair.

Research shows that hair loss and weight loss can go hand in hand. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology specifically mentions losing 20 pounds as a stressor that can cause hair loss. (By the way, this can also explain why many people lose hair after dieting.)

Also, nutrient deficiencies can cause a form of temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium. If you’re experiencing nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss on Ozempic, you might not be eating enough food and getting enough essential nutrients — which can be bad news for your hairline.

This could explain the link between weight loss drugs and hair loss. So even if you unintentionally lose weight while using Ozempic for diabetes, it might affect your hair density.

The side effects of Ozempic can range from mild to pretty gnarly. Sometimes, though, you may need to stick it out — especially if Ozempic is helping you manage your type 2 diabetes.

So, how do you prevent or reverse hair loss while using Ozempic? You have a few treatment options at your disposal.

Minoxidil

Also known by the brand name Rogaine®, minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical medication that can stimulate hair regrowth while preventing further hair loss.

It works by stimulating blood flow to hair follicles, which can then better access supplies of nutrients sometimes cut off by genetic changes that happen with age.

Minoxidil also takes hair follicles in the resting phase of the hair growth cycle and moves them into the growth phase. As a result, your hair grows for longer.

Minoxidil can be used to address different types of hair loss, including hair loss related to health conditions, weight loss, and nutrient deficiencies.

Finasteride

Finasteride (the generic of Propecia®) is an oral medication used to treat male pattern hair loss. It inhibits the production of dihydrotestosterone (​​DHT), a hormone that can damage hair follicles so much that they stop growing new hairs.

Unlike minoxidil, finasteride really only works for male pattern baldness — and male pattern baldness is associated with genetics, not Ozempic.

However, if you happen to have this type of hair loss, you can use finasteride while on Ozempic if a healthcare professional gives you the go-ahead.

Healthy Eating

If you’re using Ozempic for weight loss or diabetes management, your healthcare provider has likely already suggested a balanced, healthy meal plan.

Healthy eating doesn’t just benefit your waistline but your hairline too. Since nutrient deficiencies can cause hair loss, a balanced diet can help you avoid this type of hair loss.

This looks like a variety of fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein sources, nuts, legumes, and some healthy fats. Plus plenty of water, of course!

Hair Growth Supplements

If your nutrient levels still aren’t where they need to be, supplements might be the answer. Our biotin gummies, for example, contain plenty of hair-loving nutrients like vitamin D and B vitamins.

Not sure where to start? It may be a good idea to speak with the healthcare provider who prescribed your Ozempic. They can assess the possible causes of hair loss and help you navigate treatment options.

Hair loss treatments, delivered

Diabetes and hair loss can both be scary experiences — and experiencing them at the same time might feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are treatments for both conditions.

Here’s what to keep in mind about weight loss drugs and hair loss:

  • Ozempic isn’t associated with hair loss. But clinical trials have found that Wegovy, which also contains semaglutide, carries a small risk of hair loss.

  • Hair loss can be caused by diabetes or rapid weight loss. Since semaglutide is used to treat diabetes and may cause rapid weight loss, that might explain the potential link between Ozempic and hair loss.

  • There are hair loss treatments you can try. Finasteride, minoxidil, and hair growth supplements can help with the hair restoration process.

Our advice is simple: Talk to a healthcare provider.

A licensed healthcare professional can give you personalized medical advice for managing diabetes while managing hair loss.

If you’re interested in other weight loss medications, see our blog on Ozempic versus metformin.

15 Sources

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. (2022). Hair loss: Diagnosis and treatment. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/treatment/diagnosis-treat
  2. American Academy of Dermatology. (2022). Hair loss types: Frontal fibrosing alopecia causes. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/types/frontal-fibrosing-alopecia/causes
  3. Badri T, et al. (2021). Minoxidil. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  4. Collins L, et al. (2022). Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551568/
  5. de Candia P, et al. (2019). Type 2 Diabetes: How Much of an Autoimmune Disease? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6620611/
  6. Echeverri AF, et al. (2013). Autoimmune diabetes mellitus (Type 1A). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459476/
  7. Goyal R, et al. (2022). Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513253/
  8. Hughes S, et al. (2020). Oral Semaglutide. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6969659/
  9. Jastreboff AM, et al. (2022). Tirzepatide Once Weekly for the Treatment of Obesity. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35658024/
  10. Lo Sicco K, et al. (2011). A retrospective study of thyroid structural abnormalities in alopecia patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256342/
  11. OZEMPIC (semaglutide) injection, for subcutaneous use. (2021). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/209637lbl.pdf
  12. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Hair loss | alopecia | alopecia areata. https://medlineplus.gov/hairloss.html
  13. WEGOVY® (semaglutide) injection, for subcutaneous use. (2024). https://www.novo-pi.com/wegovy.pdf
  14. ZEPBOUND® (tirzepatide) Injection, for subcutaneous use. (2024). https://pi.lilly.com/us/zepbound-uspi.pdf
  15. Zito PM, et al. (2022). Finasteride. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/
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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