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The Relationship Between Patient-Reported Severity of Hair Loss and Health-Related Quality of Life and Treatment Patterns Among Patients with Alopecia Areata



Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by hair loss. Patients with AA experience a range of social and emotional impacts, and the lack of effective treatments and multiple affected locations can deepen the burden of illness. The objective of the current study was to assess health-related quality of life (HRQL) among patients with AA, and to evaluate the relationship between patient-reported AA severity, HRQL and treatment patterns.


A web survey was completed by participants recruited through the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. The survey included questions on disease characteristics, burden and impact (evaluated by the Skindex-16 for AA and items on work/school and sexual relationships), healthcare utilization and treatment experience. Analyses were conducted for the overall sample and by key subgroups, including AA severity and disease duration.


A total of 1327 participants with AA completed the survey. The mean age was 39.7 [standard deviation (SD) 12.3] years and 58.4% were female. On average, participants had experienced signs and symptoms of AA for 11.5 years (SD 12.5) and were diagnosed by a healthcare provider (HCP) 10.5 (SD 12.2) years ago. Participants reported a range of severity of current scalp hair loss, including 0% (2.6%), 1-20% (39.8%), 21-49% (26.2%), 50-94% (10.2%) and 95-100% (21.3%). Participants reporting 95-100% of scalp hair missing were less likely to be currently seeing an HCP and to currently be on treatments for AA. There was a non-linear relationship between HRQL and current AA severity. Participants with 1-20% to 50-94% of current scalp hair missing reported higher symptom, functioning and emotional impacts due to AA than participants with 0% missing scalp hair and/or 95-100% missing scalp hair. Similar findings were observed for current eyebrow and eyelash severity, except for emotional impacts.


Severity of AA plays an important role in understanding the burden of illness and healthcare patterns of people living with AA.

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