adderall and hair loss out of bottle
Written by
Morgan German
Medically approved by
Dr. Andrea Ortega M.D.

Hair is one of the most delicate but also important skin appendages. It protects the scalp (extremely sensitive) from solar radiation, is a major contributor to self-esteem, and allows your body important sensory and thermoregulatory functions every day.

But as delicate as it is on the outside, it is also on the inside. The pilosebaceous unit is extremely susceptible to products, hormones, and medications, and Adderall is one of them. And Adderall can cause hair loss.

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What is Adderall?

Adderall is commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy sometimes. Adderall acts as a psychostimulant that increases the connections between different brain parts and thus improves daily psychological performance.

In ADHD, there are concentration problems such as not finishing an easy task, games becoming a challenge, problems focusing on homework, and others that Adderall can solve through brain stimulation.

But just as allergy medications tend to make you sleepy as well as some muscle relaxants, Adderall also has a series of side effects, including hair loss.

How does Adderall work?

adderall drug

Adderall is a medication that has been used to treat ADHD since 1996. Like all psychostimulants, it works by improving communication between specific parts of the brain.

This drug contains a small percentage of amphetamines in combination: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Both work decreasing neurotransmitters such as catecholamines and increasing dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline for more structured brain activity.

Does Adderall have side effects?

adderall side effects weight loss

Yes. Like any drug, Adderall has side effects. Remember that medication side effects vary from person to person, and not everyone experiences them in the same way.

Side effects include:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Inability to focus
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Aggression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart disease
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss

It does not mean that you will suffer from all of these symptoms at the same time, but you are likely to suffer from any of these if you're about to take or already taking Adderall. Dose modifications will usually be enough to reduce a side effect.

Can Adderall cause hair loss?

hair loss adderall

Yes. Adderall and hair loss are related. The manufacturers' guide lists alopecia, or hair loss, as a possible side effect of Adderall intake. However, they do not provide data on the frequency of this side effect, and no recent clinical studies have measured how often this happens. Therefore, it is hard to know how or why Adderall may cause such hair fading.

Another common cause of hair loss due to Adderall is secondary to severe scalp itching. If taking the medication causes itching, the hair may fall out due to the stimulation of constant scratching.

Since Adderall can also cause restlessness and sleep problems, hair loss can also occur due to stress and less sleep.

How does Adderall cause hair loss?

hair loss caused by adderall

A wide range of drugs can affect the normal hair cycle and cause alopecia, not just Adderall, and almost all of them produce the same effect: 

  • Induced hair loss: A sudden cessation of cellular activity of the pilosebaceous unit causes the hair to fall out one or two days after the first medication intake. In dermatology, this is known as anagen effluvium. Chemotropic cause this.
  • Accelerated hair loss occurs when the normal hair growth cycle is accelerated so that the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases pass so quickly that the hair does not have time to grow. 

In this process, the pilosebaceous follicle itself is not affected, and there is no inflammation or alteration of its activity. However, there is trauma or stress on the hair due to the medications. It occurs between 2 and 4 months after starting medication, and it does diffusely, with mild or moderate intensity. 

Hair in the telogen phase falls out because new hair in the anagen phase displaces it. This alopecia is known as telogen effluvium and involves hair loss induced by most drugs, including psychoactive drugs, especially Adderall.

In other words, Adderall does not cause any hair follicle damage. Once the treatment is suspended or the dosage is reduced, the hair grows back.

Is Adderall hair loss reversible?

One of the most frequently asked questions is will hair grow back after Adderall? The answer is yes. It is completely reversible once the medication is suspended or the dose is lowered. Of course, hair does not grow immediately, but it should return to its normal cycle after a few months, and you will see new hair again.

Can I prevent Adderall hair loss?

When you notice that your hair is falling out more than usual, the first thing to do is consult your medical provider.

Your medical provider will likely advise you to stop the medication or lower the dosage. If you cannot stop the medication and your hair still fall out despite taking less now, you can start an anti-hair loss treatment to avoid these effects.

How to prevent Adderall and hair loss?

Take vitamin D

a woman receving sunlight vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential in stress processes because it helps reduce inflammation. Your hair may fall out more if you are deficient in vitamin D.

Give yoga a chance

a woman practicing yoga due to adderall hair loss

Since Adderall can increase anxiety and stress levels, a relaxing activity such as yoga or a sport can decrease these levels and improve hair loss and overall sleep quality.

Minoxidil

minoxidil

Minoxidil is a treatment applied directly on the scalp that improves circulation and promotes more oxygen and nutrients to the hair. 

It is applied to dry hair to increase absorption and can be used as a lotion or spray. Minoxidil makes hair follicles stuck in the telogen phase move into the anagen or active growth phase.

If you are afraid of minoxidil side effects, we compiled a list of the best natural and drug minoxidil alternatives.

Finasteride

Finasteride is a treatment intended for male hair loss. However, you should know that hair loss from Adderall is not related to hormones, so even if you try it, you probably won't see Finasteride results as the ways of working are different. 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

It consists of a regenerative aesthetic medicine technique that takes advantage of the regenerative properties of your blood cells to awaken the follicles in the telogen phase. 

The procedure consists of a small sample of your blood, which is then centrifuged. Thanks to centrifugation, the blood elements are separated, getting the plasma part, in which there are vitamins, nutrients, and vital cells that are then injected with microneedles into your scalp. 

PRP revitalizes those follicles in the aging phase, allowing them to produce hair again with greater quality and resistance.

Pay attention to what you eat

healthy food to combat adderall hair loss

It is not for nothing that ''food is the cornerstone of life''. If your hair is fading due to telogen effluvium, you must take care of your diet. Include more carrots, eggs, fish, or avocado in your diet, drink more water, and try to drink natural and unprocessed juices. If you're a vegetarian, we have a guide for that also!

Be careful what you put in your hair

shower

Many over-the-counter products in stores contain harmful ingredients that can further increase hair stress. Avoid shampoos with sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, or fragrances, use moisturizing masks from time to time and always let your hair dry naturally on its own.

Use Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine

Scandinavian Biolabs takes pride in delivering formulations that are natural, effective, and above all transparent. This best-seller along with our Eyelash Growth Serum do not have sulfate, paraben and silicones that can cause undesirable side effects.

The Hair Growth Routine is specifically developed to effectively prevent hair loss, grow new strands, and maintain healthy, strong hair. Each product contains plant growth factors, derived from stem cell technology to nurture hair follicles and encourage regrowth.

hair growth routine

Conclusion

Adderall is very beneficial if known how to use it in ADHD. However, it is not risk-free as no medication is. 

If you notice more hair shedding than usual or that your comb is filling up faster with hairs months before starting the treatment, then you should consult with your health care provider immediately to either start hair loss treatment, decrease the dosage, change the drug or suspend it.

References

  1. Botchkarev V. A. (2003). Stress and the hair follicle: exploring the connections. The American journal of pathology, 162(3), 709–712. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9440(10)63866-7
  2. Chavez-Alvarez, S., Villarreal-Alfaro-Lopez, A. L., Vazquez-Martinez, O., & Villarreal-Martinez, A. (2019). Diffuse alopecia areata associated with weight-loss pills. International Journal of Trichology, 11(6), 236–237.
  3. Levantine, A., & Almeyda, J. (1973). Drug reactions xxiii: Drug induced alopecia. The British Journal of Dermatology, 89(5), 549–553.
  4. Meaux, T. A., McMahon, P. M., Jones, G. N., Bush, A. E., Kennedy, J. J., & Poche, G. W. (2021). Association of alopecia areata with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder stimulant medication: A case-control study. The Ochsner Journal, 21(2), 139–142.
  5. Núñez-Garces, M., Sánchez-Gayango, A., & Romero-Pérez, C. (2020). Reversible alopecia secondary to OROS methylphenidate.  49(3), 208–210.
  6. Voron, D. A. (1988). Alopecia and amphetamine use. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 260(2), 183–184.
  7. Food and Drug Administration. (03 2007). ADDERALL MEDICATION GUIDE. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdfr