Targeted photochemotherapy in alopecia areata

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2013 Dec;29(6):318-22. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12073. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


Background/purpose: Alopecia areata (AA) is a common cause of localized non-scarring alopecia. Usage of targeted UVA after the topical application of 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP) is one of the rising treatment modalities for AA. Our aim was to assess the efficacy and safety of topical 8-MOP plus targeted UVA phototherapy in the treatment of patchy AA.

Methods: Seven patchy AA patients were treated by topical 8-MOP application to the lesions followed by UVA irradiation 3 times a week, with 15 to 24 sessions in total. At the end of the treatment all patients were evaluated for response on a four-point scale (0 = no hair, 1 = white vellus hair, 2 = regrowth cosmetically acceptable for the patient, 3 = complete hair growth).

Results: The mean cumulative UVA dose was from 7.5 to 39.6 J/cm(2) . For all 7 patients, average response score was calculated as 2, which means cosmetically acceptable regrowth.

Conclusion: Targeted UVA phototherapy combined with topical 8-MOP may be an effective and safe alternative treatment protocol for patchy AA, which should be kept in mind in order to choose the best for the patient, especially for patients incompatible with other treatments that are systemic and invasive.

Keywords: alopecia areata; photochemotherapy; targeted.

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia Areata / drug therapy*
  • Alopecia Areata / pathology
  • Furocoumarins / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Furocoumarins
  • 8-methylpsoralen