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Derms and Conditions Podcast Episode 67:

Untangling the Questions and Challenges in Patients with Hair Loss: Part 2

Featuring Jeff Donovan, MD | Release Date: December 21, 2023

In episode 67 of Derms and Conditions, our host, Dr James Q. Del Rosso, sits down again with Dr Jeff Donovan, a board-certified dermatologist who practices in Whistler, Canada, with his dermatology clinic dedicated solely to the management of hair disorders, for part two of their discussion on alopecia areata and other hair loss conditions.

Dr Donovan begins the discussion by addressing autoimmune thyroid disease associated with alopecia areata and the appropriate laboratory interpretation and monitoring for these patients. He discusses the comprehensive baseline laboratory tests he collects before initiating JAK inhibitor treatment as well as how he approaches laboratory monitoring during the course of therapy.

Next, the pair addresses how to tackle low laboratory values, such as vitamin D and ferritin, that are associated with more severe alopecia areata. Dr Donovan emphasizes that when treating iron deficiency, patient comfort and adherence are paramount. The pair notes that patients genuinely appreciate a thorough and concerned clinician and how important it is to set appropriate patient expectations with treatment.

They then transition to the use of dupilumab in atopic children with alopecia areata who experience hair regrowth and how to determine which patients are more likely to respond to this treatment.

Next, Dr Del Rosso describes a difficult case of lichen planopilaris, and Dr Donovan shares key clinical and dermatoscopic findings and encourages clinicians to have a low threshold for biopsy when suspecting lichen planoplilaris or another disorder other than alopecia areata, some which may cause scarring. He discusses treatment with topical corticosteroids, intralesional triamcinolone injections, doxycycline, hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate, and cyclosporine in isolation and in combinations and what would constitute an appropriate trial on these therapies. More data are needed on the use of JAK inhibitors for causes of inflammatory alopecia other than alopecia areata.

Dr Donovan concludes by mentioning education opportunities available in hair loss and his final words of wisdom regarding alopecia. Tune in to this episode to learn all the details from a true hair expert!


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