This content was reviewed and approved for its accuracy on 12/08/2021 by Professor Frank Joseph

Photograph of Professor Frank Joseph, weight loss expert for myBMI

Can Saxenda Cause Hair Loss?

 

One question that people keep asking is whether or not Saxenda can cause hair loss.

 

It’s something that’s often asked in online support groups and forums.

 

Several people seem to be shedding more hair than usual whilst taking Saxenda.

 

However, no type of hair loss is listed in the patient information leaflet for the medication at all. 

 

Patient information leaflets have to contain all of the relevant information about the medicine that you’re taking.

 

This includes any and all adverse effects. Whilst Saxenda can cause a range of side effects, it’s unlikely that the medication itself will cause your hair to fall out. 

 

However, NICE do acknowledge that alopecia could be a possible adverse reaction of GLP-1 receptor agonists. So why is this?

 

  

Liraglutide is the main ingredient in Saxenda, and is a GLP-1 receptor agonist.

 

Medicines belonging to this family can often encourage weight loss due to the way that they work.

 

Whilst Saxenda itself isn’t likely to cause your hair to start shedding, weight loss can.  

 

saxenda and hair loss

 

This explains why some people experience an increased amount of hair loss whilst taking Saxenda.

 

This is especially common in those that lose weight fairly rapidly. This is often due to a nutritional deficiency 

 

 

Some people that start out on their weight loss journey end up changing too much too quickly.

 

One of the first things to see changes is often peoples’ diets.

 

Unfortunately, years of toxic diet culture have led many people to believe that surviving on a dangerously low amount of calories will lead to weight loss. 

 

 

Whilst this might be true, it’s certainly not healthy, and very low-calorie diets can cause a whole host of health issues.

 

Unfortunately, alopecia is just the tip of the iceberg. 

 

 

Essentially, when you aren’t eating enough calories or getting enough nutrients, your body can react in a variety of different ways, and hair loss is just one of them.

 

Some of the risk factors that could lead to alopecia with weight loss include:

 

As Saxenda causes an appetite reduction, most people that take it find that they eat less food.

 

However, if they’re also eating very low-calorie meals or exercising too much, they might not be receiving enough nutrients.

 

If this happens consistently, it can cause rapid weight loss. This can have other effects on your body such as:

 

Hair loss, or alopecia, is also on the list of things that rapid weight loss can do to your body.

 

Because Saxenda is used for weight loss purposes, it’s possible for some people to experience rapid weight loss if they aren’t eating enough. 

 

Weight Loss and Telogen Effluvium

 

The type of hair loss that rapid weight loss can cause is called telogen effluvium.

 

It’s usually temporary and settles down once you start eating healthily and your weight loss stabilises.

 

This type of hair loss causes more of your hair to shed than normal.

 

 

Your hair goes through several growth stages, and not all of it happens at the same time.

 

For example, roughly 10% of your hair is in the telogen (shedding) phase at any time.

 

This explains the natural hair shedding that you experience every day. 

 

 

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, it’s normal to lose anything between 30-150 hairs a day on average.

 

However, with telogen effluvium, more of your hair moves into the shedding stage.

 

This is often most noticeable when you’re in the shower, brushing your hair, or doing anything that might agitate your hair.  

 

can saxenda cause hair loss

 

Telogen effluvium can be scary, especially if you don’t know what’s causing it.

 

However, it’s the main cause of hair loss in people that have experienced rapid weight loss.

 

It affects the whole scalp at the same time, so the hair loss should be more or less even.

 

This is different to other types of hair loss that you might have heard about. 

 

 

For example, women that struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome might experience female pattern hair loss.

 

This type of hair loss causes thinning in a distinct pattern that replicates male pattern hair loss.

 

However, telogen effluvium doesn’t usually follow any kind of pattern. 

 

 

Losing hair due to weight loss can often be quite sudden, however, rapid weight loss is also a sudden shock for your body.

 

It’s just one of the many reasons why we recommend making gradual changes.

 

However, the good news is that it isn’t permanent, and you can expect new hair growth when your weight beings to stabilise. 

 

 

Some people that are trying to lose weight choose to take supplements to prevent hair loss.

 

This is also recommended to people that are undergoing bariatric surgery.

 

However, you must still adhere to a healthy lifestyle in order to minimise your hair loss.

 

If you think that your weight loss might be causing your hair to shed more, you should speak to your GP or prescriber.  

 

 

How to prevent hair loss during weight loss 

 

One of the best ways to prevent hair loss is by losing weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

 

The goal with Saxenda isn’t to lose a lot of weight in a short space of time.

 

It’s to help you to eat fewer calories whilst you change parts of your lifestyle. 

 

 

Liraglutide is a tool that can help you to achieve long term weight loss.

 

Because of this, we recommend making small and gradual changes to your lifestyle. 

 

 

People that lose weight over a longer amount of time are more likely to keep it off in the long term.

 

By following a healthy weight loss program, you can prevent hair loss and all of the other negative effects of rapid weight loss. 

 

 

saxenda and diet

 

As a rough guide, we would recommend making sure that you eat between 1200-1500 kcal per day.

 

This should allow you to lose weight whilst still giving your body enough energy and nutrients to survive. 

 

 

Another way that you can prevent hair loss is by making sure that you eat plenty of protein.

 

When you lose weight, you need to make sure that you’re giving your body plenty of protein in order to support your muscles. 

 

Protein is also incredibly important for healthy hair.

 

Making sure that you’re eating enough of it can also help to prevent hair loss whilst you’re losing weight.  

 

 

Losing your hair can be scary – especially if you don’t know why.

 

However, the good news is that even if you do experience hair loss whilst taking Saxenda, it’s often temporary and reversible.

 

If you’re experiencing hair loss and are concerned about it, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.

 

They may want to run some blood tests to make sure that there are no underlying causes for other types of hair loss.

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Saxenda contains Liraglutide which has a half-life of 13 hours.

 

Because of this, the medicine stays in your system for several days.