Researchers are still trying to prove whether or not platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) is an effective way to treat various forms of hair loss, either on its own or as an adjunct to clinically-proven treatments.
The latest findings come from the Department of Dermatology at Chengalpattu Medical College in Tamil Nadu, India, where a team has been investigating PRP as a treatment for Alopecia Areata.
This is an autoimmune disorder which can cause various amounts of baldness to the scalp and other hair-bearing areas, from mild (patchy hair loss of the scalp only – Alopecia Areata) to complete loss of all hair from head to toe (Alopecia Universalis).
This study report, published in the May 2019 International Journal of Research in Dermatology, does not specify which types of autoimmune alopecia it concentrated on, but – from the progress photos included in the study – it would appear to be the scalp-only form.
Small scale trial
The Chengalpattu team recruited a total of 20 participants – 16 men and 4 women – for the study, making it particularly small in scale.
Each participant took part in four sessions, where was administered PRP injections directly into the areas of the scalp where hair loss was present, every 28 days for a total of 6 months. A follow-up was also carried out at the 12 month mark, 6 months after this PRP treatment had ended.
Of the 20 patients, 13 (65%) are said to have “responded well to treatment”, 3 (15%) reported a “moderate response” and 4 (20%) “showed no response”. Two (10%) of the total group also experienced a relapse at the end of the study.
The study’s corresponding author, Dr. Kamalanathan Nallu and their team concluded from these results that “PRP was found to be an effective treatment modality for alopecia areata”.
This is a debatable statement given the size of the study and the fact that Alopecia Areata is an erratic condition whereby spontaneous hair regrowth may resume naturally, especially within the first 12 months of developing the scalp-only iteration.
As Belgravia Superintendent Pharmacist, Christina Chikaher advises, “Whilst PRP may yet be proven to have benefits for those with Alopecia Areata, this study is too limited to show this outright.
Larger, wider-ranging trials would be needed before it could reasonably be claimed that PRP is – or is not – an effective method of treating alopecia.
However, it is certainly an increasingly popular approach to addressing a number of non-scarring hair loss conditions, despite any firm, reliable scientific proof of its role in hair growth, and definitely warrants further long-term investigation.”
There are many drugs in the advanced stages of clinical trials that appear promising as potential treatments for Alopecia Areata, Totalis and Universalis, most notably those based on JAK inhibitors.
For now though, any adults with patchy hair loss to the scalp only may be offered Alopecia Areata treatment at a specialist hair loss clinic, whilst those with the more severe forms, and children with any phenotype, are advised to consult their GP as a first port of call.
Further information about dealing with the condition and helpful resources, such as where to obtain free real-hair wigs and details of local peer support groups, can also be found via dedicated hair loss charities, such as Alopecia UK and the Little Princess Trust/Hero by LPT.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.