How is alopecia areata treated?

Alopecia areata cannot be cured; however, it can be treated and the hair can grow back.

In many cases, alopecia is treated with drugs that are used for other conditions. Treatment options for alopecia areata include:

  • Corticosteroids: anti-inflammatory drugs that are prescribed for autoimmune diseases. Corticosteroids can be given as an injection into the scalp or other areas, orally (as a pill), or applied topically (rubbed into the skin) as an ointment, cream, or foam. Response to therapy may be gradual.
  • Rogaine ® (minoxidil): this topical drug is already used as a treatment for pattern baldness. It usually takes about 12 weeks of treatment with Rogaine before hair begins to grow.

Other drugs that are used for alopecia with varying degrees of effectiveness include medications used to treat psoriasis and topical sensitizers (drugs that are applied to the skin and cause an allergic reaction that can cause hair growth).

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/03/2018.

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