What are commonly used immunotherapy agents for the treatment of alopecia areata?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Chantal Bolduc, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Commonly used agents for immunotherapy include squaric acid dibutylester (SADBE) and diphencyprone (DPCP). [3] These 2 sensitizers are not present in the natural or industrial environment. These are compounded investigational agents not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in alopecia. Dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) has become less popular as a result of reports that it is mutagenic in the Ames assay (a bacterial assay).

No rigorous toxicologic and pharmacologic studies have been performed on the use of these agents in humans.

Although DPCP and SADBE have not been found mutagenic in the Ames assay, neither is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, and unknowns still exist concerning their safety profiles.

No contaminants have been found in SADBE. Acetone solutions and alcohol solutions of SADBE are equally stable for 2 months under storage conditions.

DPCP occasionally can contain mutagenic contaminants; therefore, it should be screened periodically to ensure purity. No formal data are available on DPCP regarding its longevity in solution.

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