Autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) appears to help improve terminal hair density, but not hair thickness, in women with androgenetic alopecia, according to a recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment.
“Based on the results reported in this review, the use of autologous PRP injections in female [androgenetic alopecia] seems to be promising, with more consistent results on terminal hair density,” Antonio Flávio Queiroz de Oliveira, of the postgraduate program in health sciences at Federal University of Ceará, Brazil, and colleagues wrote in their study.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers searched the PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov databases for papers published up to May 2021, identifying seven studies that contained 171 women with androgenetic alopecia where PRP use was evaluated. They assessed terminal density and hair thickness across all studies using a narrative synthesis consisting of PRP efficacy data as well as adverse effects compared with a control group.
Data from four of seven studies (94 patients) were included in the analysis on terminal hair density, which showed a significant increase in terminal hair density compared with a control group (standard mean difference = 2.98 threads/cm2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.85; P = .002). In two of seven studies (44 patients), the researchers found an increase in hair thickness compared with a control group that did not reach statistical significance (SMD = 1.15; 95% CI, 0.96-3.28; P = .28).
Regarding patient satisfaction in four of seven studies, patients reported varying levels of satisfaction with their PRP use. In two studies where a 0-10 scale was used to report satisfaction between 6 weeks and 6 months of follow-up, patient satisfaction ranged from 6.6 to 7 out of 10. One study that polled patients on satisfaction found 13.3% of participants said they had “substantial improvement in hair loss, rate of hair loss (shedding), hair thickness, and ease in managing or styling hair in comparison with the placebo group.” In a study where patients completed a 16-item quality-of-life questionnaire, patients reported “significant improvement” in 11 of 16 items at 12 weeks compared with baseline. The researchers reported no major side effects in any of the studies prior to or following treatment.
“[W]e recommend caution in the interpretation of these results until they can be replicated in larger and more representative samples,” the researchers concluded. “Further studies are necessary to determine optimal PRP preparation, concentration, number of sessions, and interval between sessions.”
Disclosures: No authors declared financial ties to drugmakers.
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