Twice weekly 5 mg dexamethasone oral pulse in the treatment of extensive alopecia areata

J Dermatol. 1999 Sep;26(9):562-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.1999.tb02049.x.


Thirty patients (20 males, 10 females) with widespread alopecia areata (25 extensive alopecia areata, 5 alopecia areata) for a mean period of 4.2 years were included in the study. All patients above 12 years were administered 5 mg dexamethasone oral pulse on two consecutive days every week. Three children (< 12 years) received 2.5 mg to 3.5 mg dexamethasone oral biweekly pulse. Patients who had received treatment for a minimum period of 12 weeks were evaluated for terminal hair growth. Complete to excellent (75-95%) hair growth was observed in 16 (63.3%) patients. Growth was good (50-74%) in 2 cases and poor (< 50%) in 3 (10%) cases. Six (20%) patients has no growth of terminal hair. Complete to excellent growth of hair was obtained after a mean period of 5.35 months (range 3-10 months). Relapse occurred in one case each after three and six months but hair regrew with re-treatment. Side effects of corticosteriods were frequent, seen in 8 (26.6%) patients, but were mild. In only one case, treatment had to be discontinued. We propose that twice weekly 5 mg dexamethasone oral pulse for six months may be considered as one of the modalities in the treatment of extensive long standing alopecia areata.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alopecia Areata / diagnosis
  • Alopecia Areata / drug therapy*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Dexamethasone