Background: A small percentage of patients with alopecia areata have connective diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma. Lupus erythematosus is associated with a number of different types of alopecia, but the incidence of alopecia areata in lupus erythematosus has not been examined.
Observations: Of our cohort of 39 patients with lupus erythematosus, alopecia areata developed in 10% (four patients), in contrast to 0.42% of general dermatologic patients. Biopsy specimens of alopecia areata lesions in each of our patients showed continuous granular deposition of IgG at the dermoepidermal junction, a finding usually found in only a minority of alopecia areata cases. Intralesional injections of corticosteroids were effective treatment.
Conclusions: The incidence of alopecia areata in patients with lupus erythematosus is increased. Recognition of this form of alopecia allows for specific therapy with intralesional corticosteroids.