A paired comparison of the efficacy of a topically applied fluoridated corticosteroid, 0.2% fluocinolone acetonide in a cream base (Synalar-HP®, Syntex) and the base alone was carried out in 28 patients with alopecia areata and alopecia totalis. A satisfactory to excellent therapeutic response was obtained in 17/28 patients (61%), with the corticosteroid cream treatment. The patient’s age and the duration of the alopecia appeared to be important factors in the outcome. Although relapses were encountered in 11/17 patients (63%) during the course of treatment or within 3 months after treatment was discontinued, 12/17 (71%) of those who responded did retain sufficient regrowth for the result to be considered satisfactory. The only troublesome complication was the development of a localized acneform eruption in 5/28 patients (18%) between the ages of 15 and 25 years. None of the patients developed clinical evidence of systemic absorption.

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