Does citalopram cause hair loss? (5+ tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether citalopram causes hair loss as its potential side effect or not. We will also discuss what research suggests on this, the possible link between citalopram and hair loss, factors contributing to hair loss while taking citalopram and management tips to reduce hair loss experienced with citalopram.

Does citalopram cause hair loss?

Yes, citalopram can cause hair loss. Although it is not a commonly reported side effect of citalopram, it’s essential to keep in mind that an individual’s reactions to medications can be different and everyone can experience side effects differently based on their specific conditions. (1,3)

Citalopram is an antidepressant. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It normally works by balancing serotonin levels in the brain, which helps in boosting mood and reduces depression and anxiety. (1)

If you’re experiencing hair loss while taking citalopram, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider. They can help you determine whether the symptoms are related to citalopram usage or any other underlying condition. 

How does citalopram cause hair loss?

The exact mechanism of hair loss related to citalopram is not clear. However, it is believed that serotonin imbalances from citalopram can contribute to hair-related issues. (1,2)

An imbalance in the levels of serotonin may be associated with mood changes and chronic stress can lead to hair loss. During stress, your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol which can affect your hair growth or cause a condition in which there is more hair shedding than usual. (2)

Serotonin has vasoconstrictive properties which means it can narrow blood vessels that carry essential nutrients and oxygen to your hair follicles. If serotonin makes the flow of blood to hair follicles less, it can impact hair growth and may lead to hair fall. (1,2,5)

It’s important to remember that individuals are different and may react differently to certain medications so everyone doesn’t need to experience hair loss due to citalopram use. If you are experiencing changes in hair growth or hair loss, reach out to your healthcare provider for appropriate guidance.

What does research suggest?

As per a research study, a 76-year-old woman was brought to a psychiatric ward because of weird behavioural issues. Doctors diagnosed that she was suffering from dementia and kept her on citalopram 20mg and aripiprazole (Abilify) 5mg daily for treatment. (2)

After 3.5 months the woman complained of hair loss on her scalp. Doctors suspected citalopram as the cause of hair loss and stopped. After a few months, she recovered her hair growth. Although hair loss related to drug intake is more common with other SSRIs, as compared to citalopram. (2)

If you notice side effects like hair loss probably from the medication that you’re taking, it’s important to stop it early. Don’t worry too much as hair loss can often be reversed. (2)

What factors contribute to hair loss while taking citalopram?

Although hair loss is not a common side effect of citalopram, some individuals may experience it due to multiple factors including: (6)

  • Individual sensitivity: People can respond differently to certain medications and what may be well-tolerated by one person might cause side effects in another. Hair loss can be an uncommon reaction for certain individuals.
  • Underlying health conditions: If you have other health problems that may link to hair loss, citalopram can exacerbate this issue.
  • Genetic factors: If your family has a history of hair loss, it might increase the likelihood of hair-related issues.
  • Combine medication effects: Sometimes, when you take more than one medicine, they can interact and cause unexpected side effects.
  • Age and hormonal changes: As you get older your body changes and hormones can shift, this fluctuation in hormones might affect your hair growth. (4)

Remember, not everyone will experience hair loss from citalopram, if you’re worried or have any concerns talk to your doctor about the issue.

What are tips to reduce hair loss experienced with citalopram?

If you’re experiencing hair loss while taking citalopram, here are some managing tips that can help you: (5,6)

Consult your healthcare provider: Before doing anything talk to your doctor, they can figure out why this might be happening and what’s best for you.

Consider medication adjustment: If your doctor believes that citalopram is the cause of hair loss, they may consider adjusting the medication dosage or exploring other alternative treatments. 

Evaluate other medications: If you’re taking multiple medications at one time, discuss this with your doctor to ensure there are no interactions which may be contributing to hair loss.

Maintain a healthy diet: Eating healthy is good for your overall well-being including your hair. Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals. (5)

Manage stress: Chronic stress can also contribute to hair loss. Engage yourself in activities that relax your mind and body like inhaling and exhaling deep breaths, yoga and some meditation that may help in reducing stress.

Avoid tight hairstyles: Use a mild shampoo and be gentle when washing or brushing your hair. Avoid tying your hair tight, which can cause stress on your hair shaft and may promote further hair loss. 

Protect your hair from the sun: Too much exposure to the sun can damage your hair. Consider wearing a hat or other coverings when spending extended periods in the sun.

What are the additional side effects of citalopram?

Some common side effects of citalopram other than hair loss may include: (1)

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased sweating
  • Weight changes (gain or lose weight)
  • Sexual dysfunction (changes in libido)
  • Headache
  • Insomnia (1)

In this brief article, we have discussed the hair loss problem associated with citalopram use. As a pharmacist, I would recommend to anyone who is dealing with hair loss problems related to citalopram usage or any other antidepressants, to consult with your doctor right away.

Do not change or adjust the dosage on your own. Start taking diet that is rich in nutrients and consider eating food that promotes your hair growth, such as high in vitamins and minerals like biotin and iron.

From my personal experience, stress reduction techniques, regular exercise, healthy diet and lifestyle modifications play a great role in promoting hair health.

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