American Hair Loss Association urges caution.
The American Hair Loss Association (AHLA) has become aware of a concerning trend among individuals misusing Ozempic (semaglutide) and other related glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists for rapid weight loss purposes. Although these drugs have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity, their misuse for weight loss purposes can have serious consequences, including significant hair loss.
It is important to note that the rapid weight loss itself can also cause temporary telogen effluvium, a form of hair shedding that can further contribute to hair loss in those susceptible.1 Additionally, AHLA experts hypothesize that the hormonal shifts from semaglutide and similar drugs can trigger not only temporary telogen effluvium but also early onset male and female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia. Androgenic alopecia is a progressive condition that can continue to worsen over time, resulting in permanent hair loss.
In androgenic alopecia, the hair follicles become miniaturized, producing thinner and shorter hair strands over time. Eventually, the hair follicles may stop producing cosmetically appreciable hair altogether, leading to baldness or thinning hair in the affected areas.
The AHLA strongly advises against the misuse of Ozempic and related GLP-1 receptor agonists for any reason other than their intended purpose of treating diabetes and obesity. These drugs should only be used under the supervision of a health care professional. Individuals who are experiencing hair loss or other side effects while taking semaglutide or similar drugs should speak with their health care provider.
The AHLA further urges individuals to prioritize their health and well-being over short-term weight loss goals, and to seek safe and effective methods for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. If you are concerned about hair loss or other side effects related to semaglutide or any other medication, please consult with a health care professional.
In summary, the AHLA strongly warns against the misuse of Ozempic and similar drugs for rapid weight loss purposes due to the potential for significant and permanent hair loss. We urge individuals to take this warning seriously and to seek appropriate medical guidance before using any medication for unintended purposes.
Mr Kobren is the founder of The American Hair Loss Association and The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons. He is the author of The Bald Truth: The First Complete Guide to PreventingandTreating Hair Loss(Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster) and The Truth About Woman's Hair Loss: What Really Works for Treating and Preventing Thinning Hair (Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill)
1. Blackburn GL, Bistrian BR. Hair loss with rapid weight loss. Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(2):234.