What is the role of prednisone in the treatment of alopecia areata?

Updated: Jun 07, 2018
  • Author: Chantal Bolduc, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

The use of systemic steroids for the treatment of alopecia areata is sometimes justifiable, but hair loss frequently follows discontinuation of the medication and benefits must be carefully weighed against long-term risks. Some authors support a beneficial role of systemic steroids in halting the progression of alopecia areata, [39] but many others have had poor results with this form of therapy.

The rate of regrowth varies greatly (27-89%), and many dose regimens have been used in these studies.

Although the initial regrowth appears promising, the prednisone dose necessary to maintain cosmetic growth usually must be high enough that adverse effects are inevitable, and most patients relapse after therapy is discontinued.


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