Alopecia areata treatment | local injections | Corticosteroids

Alopecia areata treatment, although there are no cures for alopecia areata or drugs, which have been approved, many people find that other medications that are used for other purposes can help with their hair re-growth, even if it is only transitory. Although these treatments can help hair re-growth, anyone using these treatments should bear in mind that, they would not avoid any new patches from taking place or cure the disease itself. For advice always consult your doctor or healthcare provider.

Listed below are examples of medications that can assist with hair re-growth:

Local injections

To help augment the hair-regrowth, steroids are injected into the hairless patches on the scalp, brow and beard, although this is not successful in everybody. Four weeks is the approximate time that usually takes for hair re-growth. In affected areas small amounts of cortisone are injected. This method avoids the side effects of oral long-term use. There are however, certain side effects that can be experienced such as transient pain, mild swelling and occasional changes with pigmentation.

Especially in children, the injections are painful so they are not a preferred method of treatment. Bimonthly, the injections need to be repeated. To allow the hair to grow back they work by the cortisone removing bad cells. Due to the amount of pain involved the large areas cannot be treated, this is the large drawback. If taken too often similar side effects to oral medication can become present.

Corticosteroids

Similar to cortisol hormone these are powerful drugs produced by the body. If administered orally, they are anti-inflammatory drugs and suppress the immune system. A number of autoimmune types of diseases such as alopecia are treated with these drugs. These are only used over a shorted periods of time, since if taken orally for extensive alopecia, there is a risk of cataracts and hypertension.

In ointments or creams, which contain steroids, Corticosteroids can also be taken and these are rubbed directly onto the bald patch. They are less traumatic than injections although they are also not as effective. Ointments and creams such as these work best when they are taken along with other topical treatments such as anthralin or minoxidil.

Minoxidil (example of brand name)

This solution can increase the growth of hair where the hair follicle has become small and has not developed to its full potential. Along with alopecia areata, it is a FDA approved medication for treating male and female pattern hair loss. The solution can be used twice a day to help hair re-growth in children as well as adults. The hair normally appears around the 12 th week.

Anthralin

Anthralin is a tar-like synthetic substance that transforms the immune function in the skin that has been affected. To avoid an irritation to the skin for twenty to sixty minutes it can be applied. Between eight and twelve weeks new hair usually appears. In conjunction with other treatments such as corticosteroid injections and minoxidil Anthralin can be used.