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May 1985

Topical Minoxidil Lacks Efficacy in Alopecia Areata

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology University of Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(5):591. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660050039009

To the Editor.—  Since the original report by Weiss et al1 there have been several enthusiastic reports on the efficacy of topical minoxidil in the treatment of alopecia areata.2-4 This trend was continued in the follow-up study by Weiss et al5 on their preliminary report. We have studied the effects of 3% minoxidil solution on 15 patients with alopecia totalis in a double-blind cross-over trial. The duration of alopecia ranged from 1.5 to 40 years (median, 17.7 years); all patients had previously been treated unsuccessfully with topical or injected steroids, some had had treatment with oral steroids, and others sensitization with dinitrochlorobenzene and psoralens and UV-A treatment. There were ten women and five men, and their ages ranged from 18 to 67 years (median, 39.9 years).The patients were randomly allocated to receive active treatment or placebo. The scalp was treated twice daily for 16 weeks, after