Alopecia areata is hair loss caused when the immune system attacks hair follicles, where hair growth begins. Contact immunotherapy is an experimental therapy that 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.
A review of research on contact immunotherapy notes that about half of those with severe alopecia areata had a good response, but how much hair grew back varied widely.2
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology|
|Last Revised||June 4, 2010|
Last Revised: June 4, 2010
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