Background: Alopecia areata (AA) is a common, non-scarring, patchy loss of hair at scalp and elsewhere. Its pathogenesis is uncertain; however, auto-immunity has been exemplified in various studies. Familial incidence of AA is 10-42%, but in monozygotic twins is 50%. Local steroids (topical / intra-lesional) are very effective in treatment of localized AA.
Aim: To compare hair regrowth and side effects of topical betamethasone valerate foam, intralesional triamcinolone acetonide and tacrolimus ointment in management of localized AA.
Materials and methods: 105 patients of localized AA were initially registered but 27 were drop out. So, 78 patients allocated at random in group A (28), B (25) and C (25) were prescribed topical betamethasone valerate foam (0.1%) twice daily, intralesional triamcinolone acetonide (10mg/ml) every 3 weeks and tacrolimus ointment (0.1%) twice daily, respectively, for 12 weeks. They were followed for next12 weeks. Hair re-growth was calculated using "HRG Scale"; scale I- (0-25%), S II-(26-50%), S III - (51-75%) and S IV- (75-100%).
Results: Hair re-growth started by 3 weeks in group B (Scale I: P<0.03), turned satisfactory at 6 weeks in group A and B (Scale I: P<0.005, Scale IV: P<0.001)), good at 9 weeks (Scale I: P<0.0005, Scale IV: P<0.00015), and better by 12 weeks of treatment (Scale I: P<0.000021, Scale IV: P<0.000009) in both A and B groups. At the end of 12 weeks follow-up hair re-growth (>75%, HRG IV) was the best in group B (15 of 25, 60%), followed by A (15 of 28, 53.6%) and lastly group-C (Nil of 25, 0%) patients. Few patients reported mild pain and atrophy at injection sites, pruritus and burning with betamethasone valerate foam and tacrolimus.
Conclusion: Intralesional triamcinolone acetonide is the best, betamethasone valerate foam is better than tacrolimus in management of localized AA.
Keywords: Alopecia areata; betamethasone valerate foam; tacrolimus; triamcinolone acetonide.