Cortocosteroids are the most common treatment for alopecia areata today.
In mild cases of alopecia areata the first choice of treatment would most likely be a cortocosteroid cream. The cortocosteroid creams are applied only to the regions of hairloss. These creams are usually the first choice of treatment.
An alternative to the cortocosteroid cream is the intralesional injection. This option is used most often when patches are small and isolated. A steroid usually triamcinolone or kenelog is injected just below the skin close to the hair follicle. These injections are repeated approximately once a month, and it may take up to two months before new hair growth is noticed. These intralesional steroid injections are very common in the treatment of eyebrow hair loss.
Systemic Cortocosteroids are often prescribed if the hairloss is rapid and widespread.
Systemic cortocosteroid treatment can be either by.
A. Steroid injections, or
B. Cortisone pills
With steroid injections the cortisone is injected into the muscle of the buttock or arm once every four to six weeks. Sometimes this type of treatment can bring forth a spontaneous recovery or it may just grow hair for the period during which the treatment occurs, so that when the treatment is stopped the hair loss may return. The side effects of short term use are weight gain, mood changes and acne. Long term treatment with cortocosteroids should be monitored very carefully.
Oral cortisone is sometimes given for extensive hair loss or when the condition is rapidly spreading. Cortisone taken internally is much more powerful than local injections into the skin however the possibility of side effects needs to be looked at.