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List of Antidepressants That Cause Hair Loss

Sara Harcharik Perkins, MD

Reviewed by Sara Harcharik Perkins, MD

Written by Sheryl George

Published 02/11/2021

Updated 03/22/2024

For those with anxiety or depression, dealing with hair loss can feel even more, well…depressing. Antidepressants can be extremely beneficial and, quite frankly, necessary. But certain medications (like anticoagulants and beta blockers) may come with the side effect of hair loss — a bummer, we know.

Research suggests that having alopecia can significantly impact mental health, potentially causing psychological trauma or personal and job-related issues. It can feel like a never-ending cycle if you’re suffering from depression and experiencing further depression from hair loss.

In this article, we’ll tackle which antidepressants can cause hair loss and go over a game plan for reversing hair loss caused by medications.

Experiencing hair loss but not currently on antidepressants? Our guide to hair loss in women can help you understand other potential root causes.

Many medications have a series of potential side effects.

Certain antidepressant medications may trigger telogen effluvium, a form of nonscarring alopecia. This happens when hair follicles go into premature rest. It’s often set off by stress (a factor of depression), hormonal changes or medication. 

Hair goes through three phases in its growth cycle: anagen, catagen and telogen.

  • Anagen phase. This is when hair experiences growth. 

  • Catagen phase. Individual strands transition from the anagen stage to signal the end of the growth.

  • Telogen phase. Also known as the resting phase of hair growth, this is when the hair follicle is completely inactive (until it sheds and the process starts over).

Antidepressants may shorten the anagen phase.

Telogen effluvium is characterized by excessive shedding of resting (or telogen) hair. So if you’re noticing far more strands of hair in your hairbrush or the shower drain, this could be a cause. Due to the shape of its root, telogen hair is also known as club hair.

It’s important to note, however, that hair loss is typically a rare side effect of this type of medication. Most of the time, telogen effluvium can be reversed.

If you’re experiencing hair loss and think your antidepressant meds could be to blame, your healthcare provider might try switching your medication to something that works better for your system.

Antidepression drugs that can cause hair loss include:

  • Zoloft (sertraline)

  • Prozac (fluoxetine)

  • Janimine (imipramine)

  • Anafranil (clomipramine)

  • Paxil (paroxetine)

  • Tofranil (imipramine)

  • Adapin (doxepin)

  • Sinequan (doxepin)

  • Surmontil (trimipramine)

  • Pamelor (nortriptyline)

  • Ventyl (nortriptyline)

  • Norpramin (desipramine)

  • Elavil (amitriptyline)

  • Haldol (haloperidol)

  • Asendin (amoxapine)

  • Endep (amitriptyline)

  • Pertofrane (desipramine)

  • Vivactil (protriptyline hydrochloride)

Learn more about the different types of antidepressant medications that could contribute to hair loss below.

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SSRIs That Cause Hair Loss

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by inhibiting (blocking) serotonin reabsorption, essentially freeing up more serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is known as a “happy hormone” — think of that feel-good vibe you get while hangin’ with your bestie or spending a day at the beach. Since serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood, emotions and sleep, SSRIs can help manage these factors too.

SSRI antidepressants include:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)

A systematic review of studies looked at published cases of alopecia (hair loss) associated with SSRI use. Onset of hair loss ranged from three days to five years, with the median being 8.6 weeks. Discontinuing SSRI use led to recovery in 63 percent of cases.

Does Prozac Cause Hair Loss?

Wondering if Prozac® can cause hair loss? Fluoxetine (generic Prozac®) has been linked to hair loss, but published cases are uncommon.

There’s one reported case of a 49-year-old woman diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). She was previously taking medications for other health conditions and was given fluoxetine to manage her anxiety symptoms. Within three months — while experiencing almost complete remission from GAD — she began noticing slight hair loss.

Despite reducing her fluoxetine dosage from 20 to 10 milligrams, the woman continued experiencing hair loss after one year of use. She eventually went off the drug, and within four weeks, hair loss stopped and her hair returned to its normal state. Of course, this was just a single case study, so more research is definitely needed.

Note: Do not go off any medications without first coming up with an alternate plan or medication with your healthcare provider.

Does Sertraline Cause Hair Loss?

Sertraline, commonly known under the brand name Zoloft, is another SSRI that’s been thought to cause hair loss. Sertraline hair loss was reported in a case of a 21-year-old male experiencing major depressive disorder (MDD).

To help relieve his symptoms, sertraline was prescribed at 50 milligrams a day. Fifteen days after starting this treatment, he reported active hair loss, which required a consultation at a dermatology clinic.

Despite his depressive symptoms showing major improvement, the man’s sertraline treatment had to be stopped, as it was the only identifiable reason for his hair loss. Within two weeks of going off the drug, hair loss stopped.

Tricyclic Antidepressants Linked to Hair Loss

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) help increase levels of neurotransmitters, like serotonin and norepinephrine. These natural chemicals are involved in managing aspects of your mood and personality.

While some anecdotal instances of hair loss have been reported by those taking TCAs, we can’t say for sure if they’re a cause. It’s best to chat with your healthcare provider if you think you’re experiencing prescription drug-induced hair loss.

Other Antidepressants That Cause Hair Loss

A couple other mood stabilizers that may cause hair loss include:

  • Lithium. Lithium might induce hair loss. It can potentially trigger anagen effluvium, which usually commences hair loss within a few days or weeks after starting medication. Alopecia areata and other symptoms like dry, brittle strands may also occur. Folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle) is associated with lithium use as well.

  • Buspirone. An azapirone used for treating GAD, buspirone has been linked to some instances of alopecia. In one case, a 34-year-old woman was prescribed this medication for anxiety and depression. She noted handfuls of hair falling out two weeks after starting buspirone, even though she did see a lift in her mood. Within five days after stopping the drug, hair loss slowed down.

It’s easy to get caught in a whirlwind of emotions when dealing with antidepressant hair loss. But keep these key things in mind: 

  • Understand that antidepressant hair loss may be temporary — telogen effluvium is usually not permanent.

  • Never stop your medication abruptly. Always consult with a healthcare provider first so they can switch you to a different antidepressant or help you figure out another game plan.

  • Consider hair loss treatments that can help promote new hair growth.

Hair Loss Treatments for Women

Here are a few women’s hair loss treatments you can access online through our telehealth services.

  • Topical minoxidil. Minoxidil is one of the most popular hair loss treatments for female hair loss. This topical treatment is thought to shorten the telogen phase and affect follicular cells by encouraging hair growth and reducing hair loss. We have 2% minoxidil liquid drops and 5% minoxidil foam. Both are available to buy online without a prescription.

  • Oral minoxidil. A once-daily pill, oral minoxidil can be helpful for those who don’t want a topical formula. A review of research on the effects of minoxidil showed substantially higher hair regrowth rates for people treated with oral minoxidil than those treated with 5% topical minoxidil.

  • Finasteride and minoxidil topical combo. Our finasteride & minoxidil spray combines the efficacies of finasteride and minoxidil. Due to teratogenic effects (meaning it may cause fetal abnormalities), this pick is recommended only for men and post-menopausal women.

  • Spironolactone. An anti-androgen drug, spironolactone can help target hormones like testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which can cause hair loss. But we should note it’s not recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.

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A retrospective study looked at alopecia diagnoses for people who took various antidepressants from 2006 to 2014. This included fluoxetine, citalopram, fluvoxamine, sertraline, bupropion, escitalopram, duloxetine, desvenlafaxine, venlafaxine and paroxetine.

Bupropion (commonly sold as Wellbutrin) appeared to have the highest risk of hair loss, and paroxetine had the lowest risk.

You now know the types of antidepressants that may lead to hair thinning. Here’s what we recommend:

  • If you’re on an antidepressant and experiencing hair loss, seek medical advice from your healthcare provider before abruptly stopping any medications. They’ll help you figure out an alternate treatment plan to address depression.

  • Try to channel ways to reduce your stress. From yoga to meditation, getting zen can help reduce your chances of telogen effluvium.

  • Start a hair loss treatment to help promote new hair growth. 

While hair loss can feel isolating, it is common, and there are solutions.

Learn about female pattern hair loss and the available treatments in our guide that covers it all. If you’re ready for a professionally guided plan, you can start a consultation today.

12 Sources

  1. O'Bryan, E. C., & Albanese, R. P. (n.d.). A Case Report of Fluoxetine- and Venlafaxine-Induced Hair Loss. NCBI. Retrieved from
  2. Sheffler, Z. M., Patel, P., & Abdijadid, S. (2023, January). Antidepressants - StatPearls. NCBI. Retrieved from
  3. Yesudian, P. (2015, March). Lithium in Trichology: A Double Edged Weapon. NCBI. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from
  4. Lippmann, S., Mercke, Y., Sheng, H., & Khan, T. (2000, March). Hair loss in psychopharmacology. PubMed. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from
  5. Faber, J., & Sansone, R. (2013, January 10). Buspirone: A Possible Cause of Alopecia - PMC. NCBI. Retrieved from
  6. Hoover, E., Alhajj, M., & Flores, J. (2022, July 25). Physiology, Hair - StatPearls. NCBI. Retrieved from
  7. Suchnowanit, Poonkiat, Thammaruchu, Sasima & Leerunyakul, Kanchana. (2019, Aug 9) Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. NCBI. Retrieved from
  8. Pejcic, A., & Paudel, V. (2022, July). Alopecia associated with the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: Systematic review. Science Direct.
  9. Wang, C., Du, Y., Bi, L., Lin, C., Zhao, M., & Fan, W. (2023, March 9). The Efficacy and Safety of Oral and Topical Spironolactone in Androgenetic Alopecia Treatment: A Systematic Review. NCBI. Retrieved from
  10. Etminan, M., Sodhi, M., Procshyn, R. M., Guo, M., & Carleton, B. C. (2018, January). Risk of hair loss with different antidepressants: a comparative retrospective cohort study. PubMed. Retrieved May 22, 2023, from
  11. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Lithium Carbonate. Drug Facts. Retrieved from,018421s027lbl.pdf
  12. Chokhawala K, Lee S, Saadabadi A. Lithium. (2023). Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Sara Harcharik Perkins, MD

Sara Harcharik Perkins, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. She is the director of the Teledermatology Program, as well as the Associate Program Director of the Yale Dermatology Residency Training Program. Her research focuses on telemedicine and medical education. Her practice includes general medical dermatology, high-risk skin cancer, and procedural dermatology.

Dr. Perkins completed her undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania and obtained her medical degree at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She completed her medical internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by residency training in dermatology at Yale University, after which she joined the faculty.

Dr. Perkins has been a member of the Hims & Hers Medical Advisory Board since 2018. Her commentary has been featured in NBC News, Real Simple, The Cut, and Yahoo, among others.


  • Ahmad, M., Christensen, S. R., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). The impact of COVID-19 on the dermatologic care of nonmelanoma skin cancers among solid organ transplant recipients. JAAD international, 13, 98–99.

  • Ahmad, M., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). Learning dermatology in medical school: analysis of dermatology topics tested in popular question banks. Clinical and experimental dermatology, 48(4), 361–363.

  • Belzer, A., Leasure, A. C., Cohen, J. M., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). The association of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma with solid organ transplantation: a cross-sectional study of the All Of Us Research Program. International journal of dermatology, 62(10), e564–e566.

  • Ahmad, M., Marson, J. W., Litchman, G. H., Perkins, S. H., & Rigel, D. S. (2022). Usage and perceptions of teledermatology in 2021: a survey of dermatologists. International journal of dermatology, 61(7), e235–e237.

  • Asabor, E. N., Bunick, C. G., Cohen, J. M., & Perkins, S. H. (2021). Patient and physician perspectives on teledermatology at an academic dermatology department amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 84(1), 158–161.

  • Belzer, A., Olamiju, B., Antaya, R. J., Odell, I. D., Bia, M., Perkins, S. H., & Cohen, J. M. (2021). A novel medical student initiative to enhance provision of teledermatology in a resident continuity clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic: a pilot study. International journal of dermatology, 60(1), 128–129.

  • Cohen, J. M., Bunick, C. G., & Perkins, S. H. (2020). The new normal: An approach to optimizing and combining in-person and telemedicine visits to maximize patient care. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 83(5), e361–e362.

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