Dr. Jeff Donovan
New study supports use of PRP for alopecia areata
Although platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been studied in genetic hair loss, it’s role in the autoimmune hair loss condition alopecia areata had not been carefully studied. Researchers from Italy and Israel set out to study the benefit of PRP in patients with alopecia areata and compare how well the treatment worked compared to the standard treatment – that being steroid injections.
The researchers studied 45 patients with alopecia areata. After 12 months of observation, 60 % of patients treated with PRP had complete remission compared to 27 % of patients treated with steroid injections. Furthermore at 6 months after treatment, 38 % of patients receiving steroid injections had relapse compared to none of the patients form the PRP group. At 12 months, 71 % of patients in the steroid injection group had a relapse compared to only 31 % in the PRP treatment group.
This is an tremendously exciting study. PRP has very little side effects because it is the patient’s own blood. PRP not only has growth promoting effects but has anti-proliferative effects as well. Both of these effects are likely extremely important for effective treatment of alopecia areata
Further large studies are needed to better understand the role of PRP in alopecia areata. This initial study gives us new hope that this indeed may be a good treatment modality.
1. Trink A et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled, half-head study to evaluate the effects of platelet rich plasma on alopecia. British Journal of Dermatology 2013; 169: 690-94