Safety concerns when using novel medications to treat alopecia

Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2018 Nov;17(11):1115-1128. doi: 10.1080/14740338.2018.1533549. Epub 2018 Oct 25.


Alopecia is often a cause of great concern to patients for cosmetic and psychologic reasons. The aim of treating non-scarring alopecias is to reduce hair loss and, to some extent, enhance hair regrowth. However, therapies for scarring alopecias are limited and aiming to halt disease progression. Nonetheless, available modalities of treatment come with numerous side effects. Areas covered: Many new treatments for non-scarring alopecias have been introduced in recent years. This review summarizes the safety concerns when using novel therapeutic modalities such as JAK inhibitors, hair transplantation, mesotherapy, oral minoxidil, platelet-rich plasma, microneedling, and 5α-reductase inhibitors for treating hair loss. A broad literature search was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar in April 2018 to compile published articles that reported the adverse effects of new therapeutic modalities for alopecia. Expert opinion: Although emerging therapeutic modalities for alopecia have demonstrated efficacy in hair regrowth and treating established disease, their safety profiles vary widely. When considering the new treatments for alopecia, physicians should weigh the potential benefits and risks of each treatment or combination treatment to ensure safe and successful outcomes.

Keywords: Alopecia; JAK inhibitor; dutasteride; finasteride; hair loss; hair transplantation; mesotherapy; microneedling; minoxidil; platelet rich plasma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Alopecia / pathology
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / prevention & control
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Design*
  • Hair / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma