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Lexapro Hair Loss (Antidepressant-induced Alopecia)

Hair loss is a side effect of Lexapro (an antidepressant medication used to treat depression and anxiety). Lexapro hair loss or antidepressant hair loss in general is a telogen effluvium type of hair loss. 

The prescription of antidepressants is very common, every 1 in 10 Americans takes a type of it. Luckily, the hair loss caused by the antidepressant is not a common issue. 

Here are some of the key points from the article: 

  • LEXAPRO AND OTHER ANTIDEPRESSANTS CAN CAUSE HAIR LOSS BUT IT’S RARE.
  • THE ANTIDEPRESSANTS AFFECT THE TELOGEN PHASE OF THE HAIR GROWTH CYCLE. 
  • IT IS A TEMPORARY HAIR LOSS.
  • LEXAPRO DOESN’T ACCELERATE BALDING.
  • STOPPING OR CHANGING THE ANTIDEPRESSANT CAN STOP HAIR LOSS. 
  • AFTER LEXAPRO HAIR LOSS GROWS BACK IN ABOUT 6 MONTHS AFTER STOPPING THE ANTIDEPRESSANT.
  • BUPROPION HAS THE HIGHEST RISK OF CAUSING HAIR LOSS, WHILE PAROXETINE IS THE LEAST LIKELY TO CAUSE IT. 

Does Lexapro Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, Lexapro can cause hair loss, it is a side effect of the medicine.

Lexapro is an antidepressant prescribed to adults and teenagers. It causes a large amount of hairs to enter the resting phase (telogen) of the cycle before completing their maturity in the growing phase (anagen).

The type of hair loss from Lexapro is known as telogen effluvium. The hair loss mainly affects the upper scalp, in a diffuse pattern. 

Even though your hair starts to fall when you start to use the antidepressant, you may be experiencing anxiety hair loss. Anxiety itself can cause hair loss too.

⚠️ You should consult your dermatologist to learn the right diagnosis. 

Does Lexapro Cause Hair Loss to Everyone?

No, lexapro hair loss doesn’t happen to everyone. Lexapro hair loss is a rare side effect. The exact incidence of experiencing hair loss after the antidepressant is unknown because it is a rare side effect and there are very limited reports about the issue.

Does Lexapro Accelerate Hair Loss?

No, Lexapro doesn’t accelerate hair loss. There is no evidence that it can speed up the balding process. Lexapro and hair loss are associated with each other only as a medicine and side effect. It doesn’t have an influence on any other type of hair loss.

How to Stop Hair Loss from Lexapro

If you’re wondering “Is Lexapro hair loss reversible?”, yes. Hair loss and Lexapro are linked with each other as long as the patient uses the antidepressant. 

Lexapro hair loss is temporary, it only affects hair while the patient uses the drug. The loss can show itself in 1-3 months after starting to take the antidepressant. 

So, in this context, it can be stopped by:

  • DISCONTINUING THE ANTIDEPRESSANT
  • CHANGING YOUR ANTIDEPRESSANT

 

After discontinuing Lexapro the hair growth will start again in a while. You can notice the regrowth in about 6 months after quitting it. 

Hair Loss After Stopping Lexapro

If you are experiencing hair loss after stopping Lexapro, your hair loss most probably is not connected to the medication. To find the underlying reason for your hair loss, you should consult a dermatologist.

Here Are the Active Ingredients that Cause Hair Loss

Different antidepressants have different ingredients that can lead to hair loss, which are: 

  • ESCITALOPRAM (LEXAPRO): ESCITALOPRAM OXALATE
  • CITALOPRAM: CITALOPRAM HYDROBROMIDE
  • FLUOXETINE: FLUOXETINE HYDROCHLORIDE
  • PAROXETINE: PAROXETINE HYDROCHLORIDE
  • SERTRALINE: SERTRALINE HYDROCHLORIDE
  • BUPROPION: BUPROPION HYDROCHLORIDE


All of these antidepressants are
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) class of medicines that work by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain.

The active ingredients in each antidepressant have the main role in this process. The same goes for escitalopram hair loss since it’s Lexapro’s active ingredient.

The hair follicles have serotonin and melatonin receptors, which support hair growth maintenance.

Researchers are not sure exactly how these ingredients lead to hair loss, but some of them think that it can be caused by alterations in serotonin and melatonin levels.

Does Celexa Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, Celexa, the brand name of the citalopram, can cause hair loss.

It is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) type of medicine that increases serotonin levels in the brain. This serotonin increase can cause premature hairs to enter the resting phase of the cycle, leading to hair loss.

💡 Celexa is an antidepressant that is used to treat depression and anxiety disorders such as Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Which Antidepressant Does Not Cause Hair Loss?

It is not possible to say that there are specific antidepressants that don’t cause hair loss similar to Lexapro.

A large study conducted by Dr. Mahyar E. and Dr. Ric Procyshyn which examines the connection between different antidepressants and hair loss based on preexisting data of 8 years shows that the antidepressant that has the lowest risk of causing hair loss is paroxetine.

Fluoxetine follows paroxetine with a very small difference.

Hair loss from antidepressants is rare in general. For example, bupropion has the highest risk of hair loss. But hair loss is marked as an “infrequent” adverse effect in the prospectus of the medicine. Infrequent means that the chances of experiencing this side effect are 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 people. 

Does Changing Your Antidepressant Cause Hair Loss?

No, changing your antidepressant doesn’t necessarily cause hair loss. However, since hair loss is a rare but potential side effect of antidepressants, the new antidepressant that you take has a small chance of leading to it.

This small possibility is not because you change your usual medication, it is because you start to take a new medicine that has different ingredients, and different ingredients can have different effects on your body.

[1] Etminan, Mahyar et al. “Risk of hair loss with different antidepressants: a comparative retrospective cohort study.” International clinical psychopharmacology vol. 33,1 (2018): 44-48. doi:10.1097/YIC.0000000000000191

[2] Kurhan, Faruk, and Gülsüm Zuhal Kamış. “Hair Loss Associated with Paroxetine Use: A Case Report.” “Paroksetin Kullanımına Bağlı Saç Dökülmesi: Bir Olgu Sunumu2.” Turk psikiyatri dergisi = Turkish journal of psychiatry vol. 32,1 (2021): 61-64. doi:10.5080/u24955

[3] Karabulut, İrem Yazıcı et al. “Hair Loss Associated with Escitalopram: Do SSRIs Affect Melatonin at the Hair Follicle?.” Psychiatria Danubina vol. 33,2 (2021): 187-188. doi:10.24869/psyd.2021.187

[4] Fischer, Tobias W et al. “Melatonin and the hair follicle.” Journal of pineal research vol. 44,1 (2008): 1-15. doi:10.1111/j.1600-079X.2007.00512.x

[5] Lexapro prospectus

[6] Citalopram hydrobromide prospectus

[7] Fluoxetine hydrochloride prospectus

[8] Paroxetine hydrochloride prospectus

[9] Bupropion hydrochloride prospectus

[10] Sertraline hydrochloride prospectus

[11] Gupta, Sanjay, and Prakash S. Masand. “Citalopram and Hair Loss.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 2,2 (2000): 61-62. doi:10.4088/pcc.v02n0208d