Topic Overview

Alopecia areata is
hair loss caused when the immune system attacks
hair follicles, where hair growth begins. Contact immunotherapy may be the most effective treatment for severe alopecia areata.footnote 1 A common medicine used is
diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP).

DPCP, a liquid, is “painted” on the scalp once a week. The
concentration of the solution is increased at each treatment session until a
mild
allergic reaction occurs. Hair growth may appear
within 3 months of beginning treatment.

Side effects of contact immunotherapy include a severe rash (contact dermatitis) and swollen
lymph nodes, especially in the neck.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Hague J, Berth-Jones J (2010). Alopecia areata. In MG Lebwohl et al., eds., Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies, 3rd ed., pp. 31-35. Edinburgh: Saunders Elsevier.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ellen K. Roh, MD – Dermatology

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017