Sulfasalazine in the Treatment of Severe Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characteristic for its the sudden loss of hair in different parts of the scalp and the body. Many treatments have been tried and used so far but their results remain relatively disappointing. Rogaine and Propecia, the two treatments that have been approved by the FDA for treating hereditary hair loss can hardly help with alopecia areata (Propecia should not be used at all!). There is a great demand for new therapeutic alternatives to the treatment of this disease. In a recent study a new prospective treatment, sulfasalazine, has been examined. During a period of 3 years, 26 patients with recalcitrant or severe alopecia areata (>40% hair loss) were enrolled in an open-label, uncontrolled clinical trial.

According to the response to sulfasalazine, patients were grouped into 3 categories: no hair re-growth (< 10% of terminal hair), partial hair re-growth (10%-90% of terminal hair), and complete hair re-growth (90%-100% of terminal hair). Efficacy evaluation was performed with clinical examination. 22 patients completed the trial. Overall, 68% (15 out of 22 patients) responded to therapy: 27% (6 out of 22 patients) achieved complete hair re-growth, and 41% had partial hair re-growth. 7 (32%) patients had no hair re-growth at all. Of the 22 patients with complete and partial remission, 10 (45%) suffered a partial or complete relapse. Side effects following the treatment were seen in 7 (32%) patients. It can be concluded that sulfasalazine could be considered as a therapeutic alternative in the treatment of unpredictable alopecia areata, because of its favorable safety profile, cosmetically acceptable efficacy and good tolerability.

Posted by Admin  •