Semaglutide — sold under the brands names Ozempic and Wegovy — took the world by storm when the drug, intended to help diabetes patients control their blood sugar, became popular for its weight loss effects.
Now a blockbuster weight loss drug, much of Hollywood and people looking to shed pounds have flocked to get the shot, despite not having diabetes.
But now users are complaining the drug is also causing them to lose their hair.
"I've noticed my hair is shedding a lot, like every time I brush it my brush has a full [clump] of hair, or if I run my fingers through it, a bunch of strands come out straight with the root," said Ozempic user Lola Stark in a Reddit thread on the subject.
On TikTok, user @thegeriatricmillennial documented her hair loss with the hashtag "#ozempic," showing chunks of hair that had fallen out.
"The last month I have lost so much hair," she said. "I know it's to be expected when you have rapid weight loss, but the rate at which it's falling out is terrifying."
In Wegovy clinical trials, hair loss did show up in a small number of participants.
SEE MORE: Patients taking Ozempic report losing desire to drink alcohol
Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting are listed as common side effects of Ozempic and other brands of semaglutide. But it comes as no surprise to doctors that users may be shedding hair.
"Any kind of rapid weight loss can cause hair loss," trichologist Kate Holden explained via TikTok.
The hair loss symptom stemming from rapid weight loss is known as "telogen effluvium."
Telogen effluvium is a response to the body after experiencing severe stress or changes to the body, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Essentially, the body goes into a resting phase where hair temporarily stops growing, but still continues to shed.
The hair shedding isn't immediate, but tends to occur about three months after weight loss. That's when the hair cycle has adapted to changes in the body, triggering the hair loss.
"You'll start to see handfuls of hair coming out all over the scalp," Holden said.
The loss of hair is not typically permanent. People can expect to see hair growth return three to six months after a shedding period, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Doctors suggest people have a look at their diets to ensure they are getting enough proteins and nutrients. They also recommend getting tested for any vitamin deficiencies.
SEE MORE: The science and safety behind newly popular weight loss drugs
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