A randomised, open label comparative study of hydroxychloroquine with betamethasone oral mini pulse in the management of patients with alopecia areata

Jeyasudha Jambusayee, Kulur Mukhyaprana Sudha


Background: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder causing patchy hair loss on scalp and other parts of the body and leading to poor self-esteem and anxiety in patients. Treatment with topical or systemic drugs like steroids or other immunosuppressants is associated with adverse effects. Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug, with T cell modulating function. This study was undertaken to assess the safety, efficacy and tolerability of Hydroxychloroquine in Alopecia areata compared to betamethasone oral mini pulse (OMP) therapy. 

Methods: 60 patients with alopecia areata were randomized into two groups of 30 each. Control group received tab. betamethasone 5 mg/day on two consecutive days of week for 12 weeks and Study group received tab. hydroxychloroquine 200 mg/day for 12 weeks. They were followed-up for further 12 weeks. Scale of alopecia tool, dermatology life quality index and global assessment at baseline, 12 weeks and 24 weeks were used to assess the outcome.

Results: 94 patients were screened and 60 patients were included. All patients completed the study. At the end of 12 weeks, there was a statistically significant reduction in SALT and DLQI scores in both control and study groups. But at the end of 24 weeks, the study group showed an increase in the scores. Relapses were more in the study group. No significant difference in the incidence of adverse events was noted between the two groups.

Conclusions: Hydroxychloroquine 200 mg/day is less efficacious in the management of alopecia areata in comparison to betamethasone oral mini pulse therapy.


Betamethasone oral mini pulse, Hydroxychloroquine, Alopecia areata

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