Penn State Study Reveals Hidradenitis Suppurativa Increases Alopecia Risk

Jun 19, 2019 | Dermatitis, Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Penn State Study Reveals Hidradenitis Suppurativa Increases Alopecia Risk

Researchers led by Penn State Milton S. Hersey Medical Center in Pennsylvania reported that a study investigating the relationship between Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) and alopecia areata in a U.S. sample reveal that those with HS had a significantly higher risk for alopecia of any time and also lichen planopilaris.

Lead researcher Joslyn S. Kirby, MD, MS, Med of the department of dermatology at Penn State reported “Both (alopecia areata) and (HS) likely involve an itching event at the hair follicle, which leads to subsequent inflammation,” stated Abigail Sutton of Healio.

The Study

The research team identified 36,450 matched controls and 3,645 patients with HS. The hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) group comprised patients aged at least 12 years with two separate HS-related claims in an 18-month period. The age- and sex-matched control group included randomly selecting individuals at a ratio of 10 controls to every one patient in the HS group. Controls were never diagnosed with HS, pilonidal cyst, acne conglobata or dissecting cellulitis of the scalp during the same period.

The Results

The researchers identified 36,450 matched controls and 3,645 patients with HS. The HS group had a significantly higher risk for any alopecia areata (RR = 2.22), including alopecia totalis or universalis (RR = 2.17), when compared with the control group. Researchers also discovered an increased risk for lichen planopilaris (RR = 1.54) in patients with HS. Down syndrome was also associated with HS (RR = 1.17 and RR = 11.46, respectively). After controlling for these potential confounding factors, the RR for alopecia areata was still elevated (RR = 2.09; (95% CI, 1.69-3.2), according to the study.

Comments

Limitations of this study included a lack of clinical outcome data, temporal association and detection bias in skin conditions noted the researchers.

What is Alopecia Areata?

The condition essentially means hair loss. When a person has a medical condition called alopecia areata, the hair often falls out in round patches. The hair can fall out on the scalp and elsewhere on the body.

Lead Research/Investigator

Joslyn S. Kirby, MD, MS, Med of the department of dermatology at Penn State

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