Contact Immunotherapy for Hair Loss

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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. 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
Specialist Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Current as ofMarch 12, 2014