About Alopecia Treatments for Alopecia Areata Immunosuppressive Treatments for Alopecia Areata Ciclosporin Ciclosporin is an oral treatment that suppresses the immune system. It is commonly used in several inflammatory skin conditions such as Psoriasis and Eczema. It comes in the form of capsules that are taken twice a day. Advantages It is a tablet form taken every day, therefore easy to take. There are a small number of trials that show evidence that Ciclosporin can stimulate hair regrowth in Alopecia Areata. Disadvantages It requires blood test monitoring because of the effect it can have on the kidneys, which also means regular clinic appointments. For this reason, the treatment course is usually limited to six months. Other side effects to be aware of include increased risk of infection, increased blood pressure, headaches and gum swelling. Methotrexate Like Ciclosporin, methotrexate is commonly used to treat a number of inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It also works by suppressing the immune system. Advantages It is a tablet taken once a week. It can be taken for longer periods of time than Ciclosporin. Larger groups of patients have been studied using this treatment for Alopecia Areata and hair regrowth has been observed, especially when combined with other treatments such as corticosteroids. Disadvantages It requires regular blood test monitoring because of the effect it can have on the liver and blood cells. Women of childbearing age, and men, are advised to use effective contraceptive precautions during treatment and for 6 months after stopping as it can have severe effect on the unborn baby. Common side effects include tiredness, nausea (vomiting) and headaches; serious side effects include increased risk of infections, bleeding problems and liver abnormalities. Azathioprine Azathioprine is a medication that works by suppressing the immune system. It is often used in inflammatory conditions, including severe Eczema. Advantages It is a tablet form taken every day, therefore easy to take. It can be taken for long periods of time such as months or years. Azathioprine has been shown to help hair regrowth in a small number of cases reported in the medical literature. Disadvantages It also requires regular blood test monitoring as it can affect the blood cells and liver. It can also increase the risk of infection and may cause diarrhoea, tiredness and increase the risk of skin cancer. Some studies suggest that Azathioprine can help hair regrowth and potentially work better than Methotrexate and Ciclosporin.