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Does Humira cause hair loss?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on July 1, 2022.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

It is unclear if Humira (adalimumab) causes hair loss and if so, in which populations. Hair loss was not a side effect reported in the clinical studies for Humira, a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor. However, after the drug was approved, some people reported alopecia (hair loss) after taking Humira. As these post-approval reactions are voluntarily reported from a population of patients of unknown size, the data collected is limited and has not shown that the hair loss was a direct result of Humira use. In addition, some case reports in medical journals have linked Humira to hair loss.

On the other hand, there is some evidence, largely case reports in medical journals, that adalimumab may help treat alopecia in some people. Researchers postulate that the way someone’s genes interplay with the medication and a person’s level of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) may help explain why the drug may be linked to hair loss in some people yet hair growth in others. More research is needed to fully assess this link.

The most common side effects of Humira include:

  • Upper respiratory/sinus infections
  • Injection site reactions (pain, redness, swelling, itching, burning, rash)
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Nausea
References
  1. U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Humira. December 2018. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/125057s410lbl.pdf [Accessed June 9, 2022]
  2. Abbvie. Humira: Important Safety Information. Available at: https://www.humira.com/#isi-anchor [Accessed June 9, 2022]
  3. Zschoche C, Bidier M, Hadaschik E. Alopecia areata during treatment with adalimumab: therapy with an alternative TNF-alpha inhibitor is possible. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2013 May;11(5):450-3. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddg.12027
  4. Gorcey L, Spratt EAG, Leger MC. Alopecia Universalis Successfully Treated With Adalimumab. JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(12):1341–1344. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1544. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/1913664

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