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Medications Used for Alopecia Areata

Oral Pills
Oral corticosteroids taken by mouth are often used as treatment for autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata. However, oral corticosteroids may cause side effects such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and cataracts, which is why they are only used occasionally to treat alopecia areata. If used, oral corticosteroids are taken only for short periods of time.
Topical Ointments
Ointments or creams containing steroids are less traumatic than injections. Therefore, topical (applied directly to the skin) ointments are the preferred treatment for children. However, corticosteroid ointments and creams alone are less effective than injections, and they work best when combined with other topical treatments, such as minoxidil or anthralin.

Treating Alopecia Areata With Sulfasalazine

Sulfasalazine has been used as a treatment for different autoimmune disorders. It acts on the immune system, and it has been used to some effect in patients with severe alopecia areata.

Treating Alopecia Areata With Minoxidil

Minoxidil (Rogaine) is FDA-approved for treating male and female pattern hair loss, and it may also promote hair growth for adults and children with alopecia areata. Minoxidil may be used on the scalp, brow, and beard areas. With regular and proper use of the solution, new hair growth usually appears in about 12 weeks.

Treating Alopecia Areata With Anthralin

Anthralin (Psoriatec) is commonly used to treat alopecia areata. Anthralin is applied for 20 to 60 minutes to the skin. When anthralin works, new hair growth is usually evident in 8 to 12 weeks. Anthralin is often used in combination with other alopecia areata treatments -- such as corticosteroid injections or minoxidil -- for improved results.

Alopecia Areata Information

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