Treatments for androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata: current options and future prospects.
Androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata are common disorders of the hair follicle which may heavily influence self esteem and self image. Androgenetic alopecia is caused by the heightened sensitivity of scalp follicles to dihydro- testosterone whereas alopecia areata is induced by an autoimmune reaction. Current drug treatment approaches include the use of regrowth stimulators such as topical minoxidil and oral finasteride for androgenetic alopecia, as well as topical minoxidil, dithranol (anthralin), corticosteroids, contact sensitisers, and psoralen plus ultraviolet A irradiation (PUVA) therapy for alopecia areata. Combination regimens are also proposed. However, extreme cases of either type of alopecia do not generally respond well to these existing treatments. For this reason, new therapeutic strategies are directed towards both improving the targeting of existing agents, as well as the development of novel hypertrichotic modalities.