Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER
Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata affects one out of every 100 people, causing loss of scalp hair in well-demarcated patches, usually in a circular pattern.

Most doctors feel that alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease caused by a person's immunity that is supposed to be killing gems attacking the hair follicles and causing them to fall out. It is associated with other autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, vitiligo or white patches on the skin, certain types of thyroid disease, and pernicious anemia. The vast majority of people who get alopecia areata are healthy and do not need blood tests or further medical evaluation.

Since the hair follicles are not damaged, hair loss is never permanent and a short course of any cortisone-type drugs can bring back all of the lost hair. However, immediately after a person stops taking cortisones, the hair starts to fall out again. Since cortisones do not cure the hair loss and they can have serous side effects, most doctors prescribe cortisone pills only when there is a serious need to bring the hair back temporarily. Cortisone injections into the bald spots bring the hair back only temporarily. Another treatment is to apply chemicals that act like poison ivy in causing blisters. When the blisters heal, the hair often returns. Available drugs for baldness such as monoxidil, called Rogaine, and Propecia are not very effective.

Maria Hordinsky is studying the effect of Aldara to treat alopecia areata and one study from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver showed that it may help. One study in the European Journal of Dermatology (Sept, 2001) showed that tacrolimus (brand names Protopics and Eladil)may help treat alopecia reata.

European Journal of Dermatology (Sept, 2001)

Checked 8/9/05

January 1st, 2015
|   Share this Report!

About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
Copyright 2016 Drmirkin | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Xindesigns