What is the response rate for psoralen plus UV-A (PUVA) 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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A younger age at onset, a longer duration of disease, and the presence of alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis appear to indicate a poorer outcome. Taylor and Hawk [40] published 10 years of experience with PUVA. The initial response rate (>90% regrowth) was comparable to other studies and was 43.8% for partial alopecia areata and 50% for alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis. However, after excluding patients with vellus hair regrowth and patients who relapsed rapidly in the follow-up period (approximately 4 mo), they found the success rate to be, at best, 6.3% for partial alopecia areata and 12.5% for alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis. They concluded that PUVA generally is not an effective long-term treatment for alopecia areata. PUVA is a relatively safe treatment modality; adverse effects include burning and, possibly, an increased risk of skin cancer.

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