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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 80-83

Extensive alopecia areata: Not necessarily recalcitrant to therapy!

Department of Dermatology, T.N. Medical College and B.Y.L. Nair Ch. Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Rachita Dhurat
T.N. Medical College and B.Y.L. Nair Ch. Hospital, Mumbai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7753.90807

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Background: Extensive alopecia areata includes alopecia universalis, alopecia totalis, ophiasis and patients having more than 50% scalp involvement. Alopecia universalis (AU) and totalis (AT) are considered to be resistant to single modalities of treatment. Our study highlights the efficacy and safety of combination therapy in extensive alopecia areata. Aim: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a combination treatment with oral bethametasone mini-pulse, topical minoxidil and short contact anthralin in long-standing, treatment-resistant, extensive alopecia areata. Materials and Methods: Fifteen patients aged 7 to 45 years with extensive, treatment-resistant alopecia areata (AU: 7; AT: 1; ophiasis: 4; patients with more than 50% scalp involvement: 3) were treated with betamethasone oral mini-pulse (0.1 mg per kg body weight per dose on two consecutive days per week) along with short contact anthralin (1.15%) and 2-5% minoxidil lotion daily, till response. The response was assessed by the severity of alopecia tool (SALT) score. Cosmetic response was defined as regrowth obviating the need of a wig. Failure of treatment was defined as no growth or vellus hair on the scalp. Results: Out of eight patients with AU/AT, two attained cosmetic response as early as three months, two at six months and one had partial response. Cosmetic response was attained in all four patients with ophiasis and all three patients with more than 50% scalp involvement at six months. All responders maintained their response without systemic steroids beyond 12 months. Among a total of twelve responders (80%), two with AU showed a mild relapse and were effectively treated with intralesional steroids. Side effects to therapy were mild and reversible. Conclusion: A combination therapy of oral steroid minipulse with topical anthralin and minoxidil acts synergistically, being effective as well as safe in treatment-resistant, extensive, long-standing alopecia areata.

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