Patients in Age 21-40 Age Group Comprise Most Common Group — Donovan Hair Clinic

Population Based Study Highlights Key Demographic Factors for Alopecia Areata

Small studies in alopecia areata are common. The problem with small studies is that it’s difficult to get an accurate estimate of key demographic features of alopecia areata that might exist in the population. Authors from the US set out to perform analysis of alopecia areata cases from 2006 to 2016 using a large database known as the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The used the data to exact information related to patient visits for AA in the ambulatory setting. The authors also evaluated medications prescribed and associated medical conditions that patients had.


During the 10 year period, there were a total of 2.2 million weighted visits for alopecia areata. 65 % of patients were female. The average age was 37.8. 35 % of all visits were those aged 21-40 years. 50 % of visits for alopecia areata were in those under 40 years and 50 % were in those over 40 years.

In this US data base, 78 % of visits for alopecia areata were performed by dermatologists. Primary care physicians performed 7 % of the visits.

In addition to a diagnosis of alopecia areata, the top three diagnoses associated with alopecia areata were seborrheic dermatitis (3.5%, depression (4.3%) and thyroid disorders (3.1 %). Interestingly, patients with alopecia areata seen by dermatologists were 28.4 times more likely to be diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis compared to patients seen by dermatologists who did not have alopecia areata. 3.5 % of patients with AA had seborrheic dermatitis compared to 0.9 % of those without AA.

Treatments Prescribed to Patients.

Topical steroids were prescribed to 34 % of patients. Nearly one quarter had steroid injections. 5.8% had minoxidil and 1 in 10 patient had both steroid injections and topical steroids.

Conclusions and Comments

This is an interesting and large study which highlights some important points:

1) Topical steroids and steroid injections and minoxidil are still very much a key part of treatment for alopecia areata. We have alot of treatments for alopecia areata. We just can’t ignore the fact that for 70-80 % of patients, topical steroids, steroid injections and minoxidil are going to be the key treatments prescribed.

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