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Alopecia Treatment

There is no cure for alopecia areata. There are no drugs approved to treat it. Doctors may use medicines approved for other diseases to help hair grow back. The following are some treatments for alopecia areata.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are drugs that reduce swelling and pain. They also affect the immune system. Corticosteroids may be given in three ways for alopecia areata:

  • Injected in the skin
  • Swallowed as pills
  • Rubbed on the skin as a cream or ointment.
Drugs that are rubbed on the skin as a cream or lotion
  • Minoxidil (5%)
  • Anthralin
  • Squaric acid dibutyl ester (SADBE) and diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP).
Drugs that affect the immune system
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Cyclosporine.
Photochemotherapy

In photochemotherapy, a person is given a drug called a psoralen, which is affected by light. The drug can be swallowed or rubbed on the skin. Once the drug is taken or applied, the area with hair loss is exposed to an ultraviolet light source. This combined treatment is called PUVA.

Alternative therapies

Some people with alopecia areata try other treatments. These alternatives include acupuncture, aroma therapy, evening primrose oil, zinc and vitamin supplements, and Chinese herbs. Because many alternative therapies have not been studied in clinical trials, they may or may not help hair grow back. In fact, some may cause more hair loss. Talk with your doctor before you try alternative therapies.

 

Reference:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, USA.