Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: A Retrospective Analysis of 72 Patients from a German Academic Center

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Abstract

Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) describes the scarring, band-like recession of the frontotemporal hairline. Treatment is difficult, and currently, no evidence-based therapy exists. The purpose of this study is to report clinical features and treatment responses in a large cohort of patients with FFA. The authors analyzed a series of 72 patients with a clinical or histologic diagnosis of FFA. A total of 70 patients were female (97.2%), and 2 were male (2.8%). In females, the first onset of FFA was postmenopausal in 81.4% (n = 57). Documented eyebrow loss was present in 61.1% (n = 44), whereas involvement of eyelashes and body hair was reported in only 4.2% (n = 3) and 5.6% (n = 4), respectively. Clinical symptoms were itching (40.3%, n = 29) and trichodynia (4.2%, n = 3) in the alopecic area. Virtually all patients were treated with topical high-potency steroids. Additional treatments were topical tacrolimus, systemic retinoids, and hydroxychloroquine. A total of 48 patients (66.7%) received a combination of high-potency steroids with topical pimecrolimus. In this subgroup, subjective improvement or disease stabilization was reported by 64.6% (n = 31), and the hairline was stabilized on average after 9 to 12 months of therapy. The combination therapy of topical high-potency steroids with pimecrolimus may be an effective and steroid-saving treatment for FFA.

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