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Adderall causing hair loss????

Discussion in 'Medications that can cause Hair Loss' started by mommyx3, May 7, 2011.

  1. mommyx3

    mommyx3 Guest

    Hi there everyone,
    I am 36, healthy woman with 3 children. I have been under a lot of stress lately with children, bad relationship, and financial difficulties. I am working and in school, and to help me concentrate and get through long days, my therapist put me on Adderall XR 30mg daily. The medication has worked wonders for me, however, recently I have noticed a change in my hair. First it won't curl, feels dry and frizzy, and sort of clumps together at the end of the day. I also notice hair all over the bathroom when I dry my hair or curl it, more than usual. Now I can see on the side and in the back, thinning spots. The back is worse, near the neck, where there is now bald spots! I am freaking out! Is this from the Adderall? My therapist thinks it is stress, but I have had stress for years! If this is the case, I would rather live with my ADD then have hair loss!
    Thanks everyone
  2. Joann

    Joann Moderator

    Mar 25, 2005
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    Welcome mommyx3 :grouphug: I'm not familiar with the med Adderall. I do know that extreme ,prolonged & internalized stress can sometimes trigger a TE type of hairloss. However, I can't say with certainty that is what is happening to you or if indeed the meds are contributing too.

    I've been on meds for depression and anxiety myself. I have Alopecia Areata hairloss and there was no hairloss going on during the time I was on them. The Alopecia Areata flared up later in my early 40's. My mom was on a med called Wellbutrin for depression and anxiety. She noticed extra hair shedding on it which changed when she switched to another med.

    I know the hairloss is a concern but your emotional health is important as well so rather than discontinuing the meds you could talk it over with your doctor and perhaps make a change in meds if necessary?

    Keep us updated.

  3. Bri

    Bri Guest

    I'm going into my last year of a psych degree with background of neuroscience, so I will try and explain the drug - also, I take Dexedrine not only to help me concentrate but to keep me awake. It is a similar drug so I can relate.

    Both of these drugs are sort of like the 'adult version' of Ritalin. Both drugs treat attention disorders as they are stimulants, and they have more recently been used in assisting with narcolepsy, depression (especially when oversleeping is a symptom), and weight loss as it acts as an appetite suppressant.

    Adderall is in a nutshell an amphetamine that can act on the dopamine and norepinephine, effecting the reuptake process of those two chemicals. Those are the "feel good" chemicals that your brain uses when you feel pleasure. That causes a sense of general well being, happiness, less anxiety etc.

    The major risks of amphetamine based drugs is the excitation of your cardiovascular system and respiratory system. The drug is basically revving you up, increasing your heart rate (also a cause of weight loss!), giving you energy (which is being taken from your body fat) while suppressing your appetite and thus interferes with refueling your excited system. The drug itself has no apparent effect on your hair.

    However, the side effects of the drug themselves could definitely be a contributor. Barring any medical or genetic causes for hair loss, you would be losing hair due to poor nutrition caused by the appetite suppressant, or not getting enough sleep due to the stimulating effect.

    In short, no the Adderall is NOT causing your hair loss - however, if you are not aware of and managing the potential side effects you could see hair loss, amongst other issues.

    Keep yourself hydrated, eat something HEALTHY even if you are not hungry (believe me, I know it is hard) even if it is just a piece of fruit, or in my case meal replacement shakes with vitamins included. If you find the medicine keeps you awake for too long you might want to discuss a lower dosage with your doctor. I don't know how much you are taking, but I believe the highest dosage that has proven to be beneficial is 20mg or 25mg... I'd have to dig out my old notes. I am not sure what the minimum dosage is with Adderall, but I am sure it probably goes as low as 5mg.

    If you are not properly dealing with these side effects, start now for one, maybe go get your bloodwork done to check your vitamins and minerals and all that, and perhaps take a multivitamin. I have to take iron supplements as I eat very little, even when I force myself, and meat is really not something I enjoy on a hungry day. ;)

    A lot of doctors fail to really go over the potential side effects of these drugs (brush it off as less appetite, insomnia, etc.) and do not stress how important it is to be aware of what side effects are likely, which are possible, and which you have to watch for. This goes for any medication, but especially ones that are working on your hormones and neurotransmitters. It is dangerous and I don't like it. I firmly believe you should not take any medication without knowing at the very least the basics about it - I research EVERYTHING I take. Or, ask your pharmacist - they are generally just as frustrated with the lack of info your doctor gives you while writing scripts, haha.

    Hopefully that was understandable and helpful. My textbooks have very long names and technical sciencey jargon, so this is basically paraphrasing and translation. :p
  4. hhickm21

    hhickm21 Guest

    The doctor put me on Adderall IR, Adderall XR, and combinations of both for a while to control my extreme ADHD. I never struggled with acne breakouts or hair thinning before this. I took my self off of adderall after 2 years of trying it - I hated being a "zombie" and just didn't feel normal.

    I shedded more while on it, but I think it was slowly - nothing like the TE that started last June and is still "undiagnosed."

    Nevertheless - adderall messed with my skin, mood, and definitely may have set my hormones up (whether via stress mechanisms or increased androgens) for a "hair disaster."
  5. Sassyredhead

    Sassyredhead Guest

    Yes my Holistic doctor says the dose of Adderall I was taking for my ADHD was the main cause of my hair loss and folical infections. (I was on 30 mgs a day x2, although any dose taken for a period of time can cause this type of hair loss.) Only continue to read if you are experiencing light to moderate hair loss. It can not only cause hair loss but, the habit of hair pulling. It can happen not only on the scalp but, anywhere hair grows on the body. Folical infections are alot like an ingrown hair, and are painful. Some people that have abused the drug Adderall experience these bumps up and down their arms and legs. They are what the medical profession call scratchers/pickers. They tend to scratch the pimple like bump open and end up with a scab in it's place. They may have them for years as they continually pick at them. Some may heal but, leave a small circular white indention scar that doesn't go away. Adderall basically messes up the hair growth process and especially around monthly cycles for women as well as those suffering from Menopause, and stress...it can increase the chance of folical infection. Men on Adderall also experience this type of hair loss as well. If the folical gets infected, it can be misdiagnosed as sebboreah or dermatitis. It looks like a round pimple or ingrown hair, if it opens up...it's like a crusty bump and if disturbed more it will bleed and seep a small amount of clear liquid which is the folicals releasing the toxins. It isn't known to be a fungal infection as anti-fungal medicines don't do anything to help. There are shampoos that stop the itching and pain caused from them. I recommend T-Gel or Dermarest..it's the most gentle and non scented. Stay away from Scalpacin!!! It will cause any open or crusted soars to become larger and more painful. And it stings like HELL! If you notice your hair becomes severely dry and coarse, it's basically because it isn't developing natural oils to produce moisture. As an example, if you try to curl or straighten your hair with an iron of some kind...you will smell it burning and even see a light smoke/steam coming from your hair as your curling/straightening it. The only way to get rid of the symptoms and spot hair loss is to stop taking the medication. Do not just stop cold turkey as Adderall needs to be weened off of. Tell your doctor...don't ask! Tell him that you would like to not take it anymore and would like to be weened off or try a different medication due to the hair loss!! He might try to recommend a Dermatologist...OMG! They haven't got a clue. Just keep telling him! I made the mistake of going to a Dermatologist...I was diagnosed with Sebboreah Dermatitis, and some other one, I was put on topical creams, did nothing!...anyway, when I went off of the drug which I was weened off in a four week period...after 2 weeks off the drug...my hair was healed and I have never had any other problems since. Hope this helps!
  6. Cjd

    Cjd Guest

    Hair loss

    I have sudden hair loss n take adderall I have spots on the side of my head that are bald patches I am horrified I quit taking my medication n am hoping that the hair loss will cease I have never seen my hair in this condition before never I noticed hair every where. I now use meditation n exercise to help with my ADHD instead this has never happened to me started taking vitamins n eating healthy again hope my hair returns to it's normal state
  7. Teresa1texas

    Teresa1texas Guest


    I have had stress all of my life, bipolar, bills, abusive marriage...but never had a problem with hair loss until I started taking Adderall. My hair loss was incredible! But I stopped Adderall and my hair started growing back long and thick. Started adder all again, same thing. Four times over 3 years I took myself on and off Adderall against my doctors orders and it was the same thing each time. I have 2 friends each in their 50s and they have the SAME problem. I'm am 34. My 16 yr old god-daughter has the same problem. It doesn't affect everyone the same, but for us, it does! And I'm like you...I might deal with my ADD before I go bald because my husband doesn't like it at all!!! I!
    Thanks everyone[/QUOTE]
  8. Wow this is such a surprise to me that people seem to be losing their hair from adderall! I work in a family medicine clinic and see/talk to people everyday who take adderall daily. most being women, and none have ever mentioned to me that they are experiencing hair loss. this is the first i've heard of it. the only thing i can think of is that it suppressed your appetite so much that you may have not noticed some recent weight loss? a large amount of weight loss in a fast period of time can also contribute to hair loss. Other that that... i can't really think of any reason why it would cause hair loss. I'm shocked actually! but who knows, people really do react to different medications differently.
  9. LoosingItAll

    LoosingItAll Established Member

    Apr 21, 2014
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    Adderal is an amphedimine, so is ritalin and many other drugs used to treat ADHD ! " Amphedimines" are known to cause hair loss :/ Really upsets me that we might have one condition that requires medication and the risks of that medication is hairloss . Boy oh Boy !! I have learned so much over the last 5 months about Hairloss and causes and there are a thousand causes and next to no cure for some of us and no quick fixes ! Wishing everyone the best .....
  10. HairNut

    HairNut New Member

    Jul 15, 2014
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    Yes, Adderall does cause hair loss

    Same situation here. On Adderall, the hair falls like nobody's business.

    Went off of it and took just Dexedrine instead for about a year, hair grew back, but my life went to pieces (I need that extra boost from the slightly different molecules in Adderall).

    Had really solid hydration (2+ liters of water a day), good diet (protein out the ying-yang), exercised, took my vitamins. Nothing stopped/stops the drop.

    Very sorry. I wish it were different. When I first started taking it several years ago, I took Sandoz generic IR for about a year and didn't have any noticeable hair loss. When I switched to Barr generic (all that was available) and increased the dose, out came the hair. It was about the same time all the shortages were going on, which makes me wonder if they changed their manufacturing process in some way that expedites the hair loss - like maybe one of the fillers or additives blocks your body from absorbing vitamins or minerals? On the other hand, on the ADHD forum you will see this question going back for several years, so maybe it was just coincidental to me.

    If I find a solution, I will post it here first!
  11. birdbird

    birdbird Guest

    Weird, I just mentioned this in my introduction thread on here. Didn't notice there was an active discussion about it.

    Some people seem really confident that it couldn't be the adderall itself, and I'm kinda curious where that's coming from. Have there actually been any studies done investigating the relationship between amphetamines and androgen levels that rule out the possibility? Hair loss is often listed as a side effect of drugs in this class, and I know that amphetamines are often used as chemical aphrodisiacs, which kind of raises questions about their effect on testosterone, for example...

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