It is rare and usually not severe when it comes to hair loss from Rheumatoid arthritis and other medications. How to manage hair loss

Your immune system attacks your healthy tissues when it is in an autoimmune disorder.

Your immune system attacks the tissues in your joints if you have RA. They become swollen, stiff, and painful.

There is no cure for RA. A doctor can prescribe treatment to help you. You can manage this chronic condition with early diagnosis and treatment.

RA can affect many parts of your body beyond your joints. It puts you at higher risk of developing various conditions, such as:

If you have RA, you might experience skin and eye problems. In rare cases, it can also lead to hair loss.

Learn how hair loss can be caused by the medications you are taking.

If you have RA, your immune system may start to attack tissues in your skin, where your hair follicles are located. This can cause some of your hair to fall out.

RA flare-ups may also trigger hair loss.

“Hair loss in the area is rare. It usually isn’t severe when it happens. It may cause your hair to fall out in patches.”

Some medications used to treat RA are more likely to cause hair loss than the disease itself.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

DMARDs are the most common type of RA medication. These medications control RA by suppressing your immune system.

Several types of DMARDs are available to treat RA. Methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo), a DMARD, is the most commonly prescribed RA medication.

The immune system is suppressed by the use of ometrexate. This can cause hair loss. Minor hair loss is one of the possible side effects of methotrexate.

Hair loss is also a potential side effect of leflunomide (Arava).


Biologics are another class of drugs used to treat RA. They reduce inflammation caused by your immune system by blocking certain cells and the proteins they make.

The biologics etanercept (Enbrel) and adalimumab (Humira) can also cause your hair to thin. This side effect is rare.

“Experts don’t know why your hair is affected by biologics. It may be related to messenger molecule.”

If you experience hair loss after taking a biologic, it probably won’t be severe. Your hair growth will likely return to usual once you stop taking the drug.


Steroids help reduce pain and inflammation in people with RA. Due to the risk of severe side effects, they’re typically used only as a short-term treatment for RA.

Hair loss is associated with using the steroid prednisone (Rayos).

Other autoimmune disorders can also lead to hair loss.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system targets hair follicles. If you have alopecia, you’ll likely lose patches of hair. In rarer cases, you may lose most of the hair on your head.

Lupus is another autoimmune disorder that can cause hair loss. In this condition, your immune system attacks various parts of your body. If you have lupus, your scalp may be affected, and you may experience hair loss. In fact, hair loss is sometimes an early symptom of lupus that occurs before the condition is diagnosed.

A rheumatoid arthritis drug that stops hair loss

Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, a newer class of rheumatoid arthritis drug, have also shown promise as a treatment for alopecia areata. In June 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the JAK inhibitor baricitinib (Olumiant) as the first systemic treatment for alopecia.

There are other causes of hair loss.

The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition related to hormones, referred to as either male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness.

Other possible causes of hair loss include:

If you have unexplained hair loss, you should see a doctor. It could be a symptom of a bigger problem.

You can take steps to manage hair loss if it is caused by a problem with the medications.

Here are a few things to do.

  • Avoid overworking your hair. Let it dry naturally and comb it gently using a wide-toothed comb.
  • Hair products can give you more volume. volumizing spray can be applied to the roots of your hair.
  • Too much conditioner or gel are not good for styling.

It is important that you keep taking your medication. If you are concerned about hair loss or other side effects, talk to a doctor. They can help you decide if changing your medication regimen is worth the risk.