Frontal fibrosing alopecia
Other Names for this Disease
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Your QuestionI have been diagnosed with frontal fibrosing hair loss (alopecia). Is this condition going to cause all of my hair to fall out or will the hair loss stop at some point? Will medication help, or are the side effects too concerning?
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Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is usually described as progressing slowly and has been shown to stabilize in many affected individuals; therefore, FFA does not usually lead to total hair loss. Hair loss has been shown to stabilize both with and without treatment, which has led some researchers to suggest that the hair loss in FFA may stop naturally and thus this condition may not require treatment. However, other researchers suggest that treatment should be started quickly to control the inflammation that destroys hair follicles in an effort to prevent any additional hair loss.
Last updated: 4/9/2012
Unfortunately, there is no proven cure for frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA). However, because hair loss in frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is thought to be caused by inflammation of hair follicles, treatment often involves using anti-inflammatory medications or ointments, such as corticosteroids or hydroxychloroquine (brand name Plaquenil), to reduce inflammation and suppress the body's immune system. One study of 36 individuals with FFA found a significant reduction in symptoms after six months of hydroxychloroquine treatment; however, they found minimal benefit to continuing hydroxychloroquine treatment after six months. Researchers continue to question whether or not treatment is effective, or if hair loss in FFA stops naturally.
Last updated: 4/9/2012
- Tan KT, Messenger AG. Frontal fibrosing alopecia: clinical presentations and prognosis. British Journal of Dermatology. 2009; 160:75-79. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18811690. Accessed 4/9/2012.
- Frequently Asked Questions. Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation. September 2011; http://www.carfintl.org/faq.php. Accessed 8/9/2013.
- Frontal fibrosing alopecia. DermNet NZ. August 2011; http://dermnetnz.org/hair-nails-sweat/frontal-fibrosing-alopecia.html. Accessed 4/9/2012.
- Samrao A, Chew AL, Price V. Frontal fibrosing alopecia: a clinical review of 36 patients. British Journal of Dermatology. 2010; 163:1296-1300. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20698851. Accessed 4/9/2012.