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Clinical Experts Develop Severity Scale for Alopecia Areata

Scale uses extent of scalp hair loss as primary basis for severity rating and includes four secondary features

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | February 09, 2022

As a result of an academic-industry collaborative effort, an alopecia areata (AA) severity scale has been developed, the details of which were published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology .

Brett A. King, M.D., Ph.D., from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues used a modified Delphi process to develop an AA severity scale based on expert experience from an advisory group of 22 clinical experts. During development of the scale, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry provided feedback.

Severity criteria were drafted using survey responses, with the aim of developing a simple scale that can easily be applied in clinical practice. To determine the final severity statement, a consensus vote was held; all experts agreed to adopt the proposed scale. The scale uses the extent of scalp hair loss as the primary basis for a severity rating and combines four secondary clinical features: psychosocial functioning resulting from AA; eyebrow and eyelash involvement; response after at least six months of treatment; and rapid, diffuse hair loss.

"A scale for classification of AA severity, termed the AA scale, was developed by consensus of 22 disease-area experts and unanimously endorsed," the authors write. "This disease severity scale should permit more informative and consistent assessment of AA patients in clinical practice."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly and Company, which provided support for the research.

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