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UVA-1 Promising for Patients With Refractory Alopecia Areata

Sustained improvement for four patients who underwent 75 sessions of UVA-1 phototherapy

MONDAY, Sept. 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with alopecia areata (AA), phototherapy with ultraviolet A-1 (UVA-1) is a promising treatment modality, according to a research letter published in the October issue of the International Journal of Dermatology.

Maira E. Herz-Ruelas, M.D., from the University Hospital in Monterrey, Mexico, and colleagues treated four patients with refractory AA with UVA-1 phototherapy. Before and after 75 sessions, the authors obtained two 4 mm punch scalp biopsies from the margin of an alopecic plaque.

At baseline, the researchers identified moderate to prominent peribulbar lymphocytic inflammation, high percentage of telogen hairs, low percentage of anagen hairs, decreased anagen/telogen ratio, and hair follicle miniaturization. After 75 sessions, in all four patients there was a prominent reduction of inflammatory infiltrate, a reduction in telogen hairs and hair follicle miniaturization with an increase in anagen hairs, and an absence of telogen remnants. Three patients achieved a severity of alopecia tool (SALT) score of S0; the patient with the most severe alopecia (initial SALT S3) obtained an S1 score with hair regrowth. Improvement was sustained for six months after treatment.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is an initial report of hair regrowth with this phototherapy," the authors write. "We feel that UVA-1 could be included as a therapeutic alternative for patients unresponsive to previous topical or systemic pharmacological treatments."

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