Efficacy of diphenylcyclopropenone in alopecia areata: a comparison of two treatment regimens

Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2018 Dec;35(6):577-581. doi: 10.5114/ada.2018.77608. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Introduction: Alopecia areata (AA) is a skin disease of unclear etiology. In AA, topical immunotherapy with diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP) is considered the most effective treatment; however, the most common therapies give unsatisfactory results.

Aim: To assess the efficacy of a topical application of a solution of DPCP based on the intensity, duration and number of exacerbations of AA and to compare the efficacy of two treatment regimens.

Material and methods: In this prospective study, 39 patients with AA were enrolled. Group A was treated at weekly intervals and group B at 3-week intervals. Hair loss was assessed by independent dermatologists and documented by photography and dermoscopy.

Results: After 6 months' therapy, hair regrowth greater than 50% was observed in 21 patients, while worsening, no regrowth, or regrowth of less than 50% was seen in 18 patients. Regrowth exceeding 50% of initial loss was observed in 12 of 17 patients with baseline hair loss < 50%, in 9 of 22 patients with severe alopecia, and in 4 of 9 patients with alopecia totalis. Both groups showed significant improvement with higher efficacy in group B (54%) than group A (46%).

Conclusions: Treatment at longer intervals may be safer and more comfortable for patients; however, further research is required.

Keywords: alopecia areata; diphenylcyclopropenone; immunotherapy; prospective study; topical.