Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Interventions for alopecia areata
No relief for Alopecia as yet
There is no evidence that any particular treatment for alopecia can guarantee long term benefit to the patients.
Alopecia areata is a condition where there is gradual hair loss in a particular area, as hair stops to re-grow there. This condition is also commonly known as baldness. Though any hair-bearing area can be affected, but it is most noticed on the scalp. This disease varies from person to person, which is why some people start balding in their early 20s. The number and size of bald patches varies from person to person. The characteristic patch of alopecia areata is usually round or oval, and is completely smooth and bald. Alopecia totalis is the loss of 100% of scalp hair. Alopecia universalis is the loss of 100% of body hair. The real reason behind the disease is not known so there is no definite cure for it yet. As baldness in men and women is on a rise, keeping an eye on the demand, supply of treatment for the disease is on a rise. Many treatments are available in the form of lotions, creams containing topical or oral corticosteroids, minoxidil, oils applied on the scalp, oral tablets, light based therapies. Though the consumption of the tablet causes side effects and the application of the creams can cause itchiness. It is still not known if the growth of hair shall persist after discontinuation of the treatment. At times hair re-grows completely within 1 year without any treatment.
540 people participated in 17 random treatments for alopecia. Only one study which compared the usage of two topical corticosteroids showed considerable short-term benefits. As the studies had not asked the participants to give their opinions, so it is still unknown if either of the participants had any hair growth or had improved quality of living post the treatments.