Pulse corticosteroid therapy for alopecia areata: long-term outcome after 10 years

Dermatology. 2012;225(1):81-7. doi: 10.1159/000341523. Epub 2012 Sep 10.


Background: Few data are available concerning the efficiency of pulse corticosteroids in alopecia areata (AA).

Objective: Our purpose was to assess the long-term outcomes of patients treated with methylprednisolone bolus.

Methods: This study included 60 patients treated between 1995 and 2000. The short-term outcomes were analyzed in 2000. The long-term assessment of 30 patients was performed in 2010 by phone questionnaire.

Results: Significant hair regrowth was observed in 10/30 patients at 6 months after the bolus treatment. Half of the plurifocalis AA patients were responders at 6 months, but less than one quarter of alopecia totalis (AT) and alopecia universalis (AU) patients responded. Long-term outcomes were assessed after a mean duration of 12.3 years; 8/10 initial responders had mild or no disease, and 14/20 initial nonresponders had severe AA.

Conclusions: This study confirmed the low efficiency, both short- and long-term, of this treatment for AT and AU.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alopecia / drug therapy
  • Alopecia Areata / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulse Therapy, Drug / methods
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Methylprednisolone

Supplementary concepts

  • Alopecia universalis