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Home arrow Beauty arrow Hair arrow Does Adderall Cause Hair Loss? Side Effects and Prevention Tips

Does Adderall Cause Hair Loss? Side Effects and Prevention Tips

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Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: May 10, 2023
5 min read 868 Views 0 Comments
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Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for managing conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy, but could it be contributing to your haircare woes? Discover whether Adderall causes hair loss.

Does adderall cause hair loss

With an increase in ADHD diagnoses, stimulant medications such as Adderall are becoming more widely used across the country. However, despite its effectiveness, the drug has several side effects when taken for prolonged periods.

One potential effect listed by manufacturers is hair loss, but there is little clinical evidence to back up this claim. 

We explore how taking Adderall can impact your hair health and provide some tips to help you maintain long and luscious locks while taking the medication.

Does Adderall Cause Hair Loss?

As a stimulant, taking Adderall may cause more hair loss than usual, although this is rare. Alopecia areata, a common hair loss condition, has been identified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a potential side effect of the medication.

This is because Adderall is an amphetamine, a type of stimulant that has been linked with hair loss. However, although it may cause alopecia, stimulants do not cause male pattern baldness, which is a permanent form of hair loss in men.

Instead, Adderall causes hair follicles to shed temporarily as a result of side effects from the medication, including increased stress levels and sleep disturbances. This shedding can increase the longer the drug is used and the higher the dosage.

Another typical reaction to Adderall is weight loss, which is known to cause a temporary hair loss condition called telogen effluvium (TE) across the scalp. 

You are at a greater risk of developing TE if your weight loss diet is low in protein or lacking in essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, biotin, and folate.

One 2013 study showed how a child taking the drug to treat ADHD developed Adderall-induced trichotillomania, which is also known as compulsive hair pulling. This issue was resolved once the child stopped taking the medication.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a brand of medication that is commonly prescribed to treat ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

It may also be used by those with sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy, a condition that prevents the brain from regulating sleep patterns normally.

The medication contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, powerful stimulants that help to boost your ability to focus.  Although it is FDA-approved, the drug is often taken illegally by college students to help them concentrate during exam season.

Many other drugs such as Accutane or Metformin might also be the cause of hair loss.

Adderall Side Effects

Along with hair loss, Adderall users have reported some other potential side effects when taking the drug. Many of these are mild and may include problems such as:

  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Itchy skin

Most of these issues can cause increased stress, which elevates levels of the hormone cortisol within the body. Having a higher concentration of cortisol in the blood has been linked with further hair loss

You may also experience stomach pain and decreased appetite, leading you to eat less food. 

This means that your body is unlikely to get all of the essential nutrients it needs to maintain healthy hair follicles, leading to deficiencies that cause weak, brittle, and thinning hair.

However, taking high doses of the drug for longer periods can cause more harmful side effects, such as dependence, psychosis, and sudden death in rare cases. It may also affect cardiovascular health, particularly for those with an existing heart condition. 

How to Prevent Hair Loss While on Adderall

If you have suddenly lost weight or recently switched up your diet, you may have a nutrient deficiency, which can lead to hair loss. 

To ensure that your hair remains healthy while on Adderall, your doctor may recommend trying a natural hair remedy or taking a supplement containing nutrients such as collagen, biotin, folate, zinc, or vitamin B12. 

You should also try to include more foods in your diet that are rich in these vitamins, such as chicken, salmon, beef, eggs, leafy green vegetables, and blueberries.

Some of the potential side effects of stimulants are stress and elevated levels of anxiety, which can cause hair thinning and may lead to compulsive hair pulling.

You should therefore try to reduce chronic stress where possible by taking part in activities such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to help manage your emotions effectively.

Although it cannot definitively stop shedding, taking good care of your hair can prevent further breakage and ensure that it remains healthy. Try to minimize your use of heat, dry your hair with a microfiber towel, and don’t tie it up too tightly.

How to Treat Hair Loss From Adderall

To treat Adderall-related hair loss, you should begin by contacting your doctor or healthcare provider. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action and the most appropriate treatment for you.

For instance, if you’re taking Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy and are experiencing shedding, they may prescribe an alternative medication. 

They can also help you to safely lower your dosage and reduce unpleasant side effects.

Another type of medication that doctors may prescribe is minoxidil, a topical cream that is a proven hair loss treatment that boosts active hair regrowth.

It does this by increasing blood flow to the scalp and encouraging the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle to occur more quickly, therefore ensuring that your hair follicles receive all of the essential nutrients.

FAQs

How to stop itching from Adderall?

As a side effect of Adderall, having a rash on your scalp or itchy skin can cause hair loss from excessive scratching. To prevent this, use products that are formulated for sensitive skin only. You could also try applying coconut oil, which has natural moisturizing properties. 

Will my hair grow back if I stop taking Adderall?

Yes, in most cases, Adderall-related hair loss is caused by a temporary condition called telogen effluvium (TE), where hair sheds. Once the medication is out of your system, it is possible for your hair to begin growing again if your body is receiving all of the correct nutrients.

Is Adderall hair loss common?

Experiencing hair loss when taking Adderall or any other ADHD medication is rare. For example, there have only been 4 reported cases of shedding from Ritalin, another stimulant drug.

A Word From an MD

Generally, Adderall is a safe treatment for conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy when monitored by a medical professional. Like most medications, it does come with side effects such as hair shedding, although this is rare.

If you are experiencing hair loss while on Adderall, it’s important that you contact your doctor.

They can help you to switch to another medication or stop taking the drug safely, as sudden withdrawal can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and depression.

Your doctor can also treat any underlying conditions that may be causing hair loss, such as elevated stress or nutritional deficiencies. They may recommend taking a multivitamin, getting regular vitamin B12 injections, or switching up your diet.

Conclusion

Experiencing Adderall hair loss is a rare but potential side effect of the drug. To limit shedding, you should consume a balanced diet that packs in all of the essential nutrients for strong and healthy locks. Where possible, try to reduce your stress levels too.

However, it’s important to remember that hair shedding caused by stimulant medications such as Adderall is only temporary. Once the underlying problem is treated effectively, your hair should begin to regrow. 

Consult a medical professional if you are concerned about your hair health.

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, the head of the anti-aging department, and a regenerative medicine specialist in several medical institutions with years of experience in aesthetic medicine and cosmetology.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: May 10, 2023
5 min read 868 Views 0 Comments
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