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Open Access Research article

Attitudes of dermatologists in the southeastern United States regarding treatment of alopecia areata: a cross-sectional survey study

Niyati Mukherjee1, Dean S Morrell2, Madeleine Duvic3, Paul W Stewart4 and Lowell A Goldsmith5*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

2 Department of Dermatology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

3 Department of Dermatology, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

4 Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

5 Department of Dermatology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

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BMC Dermatology 2009, 9:11  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-9-11

Published: 12 November 2009

Abstract

Background

Little evidence exists to guide treatment of alopecia areata (AA). The current practices in treatment of children compared to adults and of progressive stages of hair loss are unknown. The objective of this study was to examine the current practices of southeastern United States dermatologists for the treatment of AA.

Methods

Dermatologists were sent anonymous questionnaires regarding their treatment practices by mail. Respondents' frequencies of treatment in children compared to adults and in patchy hair loss compared to widespread hair loss were compared with Wilcoxon signed-ranks tests and Friedman tests. As a secondary source, the National Alopecia Areata Registry (NAAR) database was analyzed for patients' treatment histories.

Results

Survey results suggested that dermatologists recommend treatment less frequently for children than adults and for more advanced hair loss. NAAR data confirmed that offering no treatment for AA is relatively common.

Conclusion

Dermatologists' treatment of AA is inconsistent. A stronger evidence base will provide more consistent treatment options.