Oral Pulse Betamethasone, Methotrexate, and Combination Therapy to Treat Severe Alopecia Areata: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Clinical Trial

Document Type: Research article

Authors

1 Skin Diseases and Leishmaniasis Research Center, Department of Dermatology, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to compare oral betamethasone pulse therapy, methotrexate therapy and a combination of the two for patients with Alopecia Areata (AA) as an autoimmune disorder. In this study, 36 patients with severe AA were selected and classified into three groups of 12: 1- Oral betamethasone therapy (3 mg, once a week) with placebo; 2- Oral methotrexate (15 mg, once a week) with placebo; and 3- A combination of methotrexate (15 mg, once a week) and betamethasone (3 mg, once a week). The Severity Alopecia Tool (SALT) was used to measure improvements in the lesions through photographs, and the patients also rated their condition on the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Assessments were performed, and the results were compared at baseline and then at intervals of three months for nine months. The demographics and SALT score were similar in the three groups (P > 0.05). All the groups showed improvements in SALT, VAS and photographic scores three months after beginning the treatment (P < 0.001). Betamethasone therapy (P = 0.006) and combination therapy (P < 0.001) provided greater SALT improvement than methotrexate, and combination therapy led to a greater improvement in VAS and photographic findings compared to the two other groups (P < 0.05).Oral steroid, methotrexate and combination pulse therapy were effective treatments for AA, while oral steroid pulse therapy and combination therapy were superior to methotrexate. 

Graphical Abstract

Oral Pulse Betamethasone, Methotrexate, and Combination Therapy to Treat Severe Alopecia Areata: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Clinical Trial

Keywords