Cyclosporine for moderate-to-severe alopecia areata: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of efficacy and safety

Vivien Wai Yun Lai, Gang Chen, Douglas Gin, Rodney Sinclair

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite widespread use of steroid-sparing agents, particularly cyclosporine, for treatment of alopecia areata (AA), there are no clinical trials investigating the efficacy of these agents. Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of cyclosporine compared with placebo at 3 months in patients aged 18 to 65 years with moderate-to-severe AA. Methods: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted. Adults aged 18 to 65 years of age with moderate-to-severe AA were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive 3 months of cyclosporine (4 mg/kg/d) or matching placebo. Blinded assessments included physical examination, blood biochemistry, photography, quality of life measurements, and efficacy evaluation using Severity of Alopecia Tool score and eyelash and eyebrow assessment scales. Results: The results obtained for 32 participants (16 who received cyclosporine and 16 who received placebo) were analyzed. Compared with the placebo group, the cyclosporine group had a greater proportion of participants achieving at least a 50% reduction in Severity of Alopecia Tool score (31.3% vs 6.3% [P = .07]) and greater proportion of participants achieving a 1-grade improvement in eyelash (18.8% vs 0% [P = .07]) and eyebrow (31.3% vs 0% [P = .02]) scale score. Limitations: Small sample size and single-institution trial may limit interpretation and generalizability of these results. Conclusion: Response approached but did not reach a statistically significant difference between cyclosporine and placebo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-701
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • alopecia
  • alopecia areata
  • clinical trial
  • cyclosporine
  • immunosuppressive agents
  • randomized controlled trial

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