Alopecia areata during treatment of psoriasis with adalimumab and leflunomide: a case and review of the literature

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2012;25(2):107-10. doi: 10.1159/000335264. Epub 2012 Jan 31.


The pathogenesis of alopecia areata (AA) is not clear, even though it is believed to be an autoimmune mechanism which involves T lymphocytes and cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor α. We report the case of a 43-year-old man with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis who developed AA during his treatment with adalimumab and leflunomide. We perform a review of the literature associating AA with biological therapy and leflunomide. We cannot exclude that the use of these therapies and the development of AA could be coincidental. However, we consider that case reports like ours are essential for clinicians as early alerts if similar observations occur.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab
  • Adult
  • Alopecia Areata / chemically induced*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Isoxazoles / adverse effects*
  • Isoxazoles / therapeutic use
  • Leflunomide
  • Male
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Isoxazoles
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Adalimumab
  • Leflunomide