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Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2013 May-Jun;79(3):408-17. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.110767.

Dermoscopic evaluation of therapeutic response to an intralesional corticosteroid in the treatment of alopecia areata.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry, India.



Intralesional corticosteroids are the treatment of choice for adults with less than 50% of scalp area involvement with alopecia areata. The sensitivity of picking up clinical response to treatment by clinical examination is very variable and has inter individual variation.


To evaluate the efficacy of intralesional triamcinolone acetonide in the treatment of alopecia areata and to use dermoscopy to identify signs of early clinical response and adverse effects.


Seventy patches in 60 patients were injected with steroid at 4 weeks interval and followed up for 24 weeks. Treatment response was evaluated using regrowth scale (RGS). Heine DELTA 20Íž dermatoscope was used to assess disease activity, response to treatment and side effects.


Twenty eight patients responded early and achieved RGS of 4 within 12 weeks and 29 patients responded late and achieved RGS of 4 within 24 weeks of initiating therapy. There were 3 patients who did not achieve RGS of 4 at 24 weeks. Late and incomplete responders showed statistically significant association with family history of alopecia areata (p < 0.0001), presence of recurrent disease (p = 0.0147) and presence of nail changes (p = 0.0007). Dermoscopically, 60 patches demonstrated regrowth of new vellus hair at 4 weeks. Tapering hair disappeared maximally at 4 weeks. At 12 weeks, complete disappearance was seen in tapering hairs, broken hairs and black dots whereas for yellow dots to disappear completely in all patches it took 16 weeks. The adverse effects were observed at an earlier stage using dermoscopy than clinically.


Intralesional triamcinolone acetonide is efficacious for treatment of localized patchy alopecia areata. Dermoscopy is very useful to identify signs of early clinical response, adverse effects and markers of disease activity.

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