Does Mavenclad cause hair loss?
Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Aug 14, 2020.
Hair loss is an infrequent side effect with Mavenclad (generic name: cladribine), an oral medicine used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. In clinical studies, hair loss occurred in 3% (3 out of every 100) of patients treated with Mavanclad compared to 1% of patients receiving a placebo (inactive) treatment. Hair loss is also referred to medically as alopecia.
Hair loss if not usually a symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, in addition to medications, stress on the body, physically or mentally, can lead to hair thinning or hair loss in some people. Hair loss is usually a temporary side effect for most patients.
Most people lose about 50 to 100 hairs per day and this is not typically obvious. If you are experiencing noticeable hair loss, contact your doctor for an evaluation. It may be that another medicine or medical condition may be leading to your hair loss.
See you doctor if:
- your hair starts to fall out suddenly or in clumps
- you have specific patches without hair or bald spots
- your scalp is red or itchy, is bleeding or has lesions
- you're worried about your hair loss
Which MS drugs lead to hair loss or hair thinning?
Several other medicines used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) have been reported to lead to hair thinning or hair loss, in addition to Mavenclad.
These agents include (with incidence, if known):
- Aubagio (teriflunomide): up to 13%
- Avonex (interferon beta-1a): 4%
- Betaseron (interferon beta-1b): <1%
- Copaxone (glatiramer): incidence unknown (case report)
- Gilenya (fingolimod): 3%
- Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate): incidence unknown (case report)
- Hair loss (alopecia) is not a frequent side effect with Mavenclad, but it has been reported.
- In clinical studies, alopecia occurred in 3% of Mavenclad-treated patients (3 out of every 100) compared to 1% of placebo patients.
- Hair loss can occur with other medications, too, including other MS drugs. If you have concerns about hair loss, contact your doctor for an evaluation.
This is not all the information you need to know about Mavenclad (cladribine) for safe and effective use. Review the full Mavenclad prescription information here, and discuss this information with your doctor or other health care provider.
- Mavenclad (cladribine). Product Label. EMD Serono, Inc. Rockland, MA. April 2019. Accessed August 12, 2020 at https://www.emdserono.com/us-en/pi/mavenclad-pi.pdf
- EMD Serono. Mavenclad website. Accessed August 12, 2020 at https://www.mavenclad.com
- Pacheco MF, Jacobe H, Eagar TN, et al. Reversible Alopecia Associated With Glatiramer Acetate. Arch Neurol. 2010;67(9):1154. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.195
- Hendin Travis L, Okai A, Cavalier S et al. Real-World Observational Evaluation of Hair Thinning in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Receiving Teriflunomide: Is It an Issue in Clinical Practice?. Neurol Ther 7, 341–347 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40120-018-0107-y
- Losavio FA, Lucchini M, De Fino C, Mirabella M, Nociti V. Transient hair loss during treatment with dimethyl-fumarate for multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2016;7:68-69. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2016.03.006
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