Can one apply DPCP at home?
Diphencyprone (“DPCP”) is a unique treatment for alopecia areata that has been used for over 25 years.
What’s unique about DPCP is the fact that it causes an allergic reaction on the scalp which in turn alters the type of inflammation present in the skin and around hair follicles. By doing so, hair has the potential to grow because the immune system is no longer attacking it.
For years, DPCP treatments were exclusively done in highly specialized dermatology clinics. Fewer clinics are offering DPCP nowadways because of staffing issues (lots of nurses and physicians are needed!) and because many of the staff frequently becomes allergic themselves to the DPCP over time.
For many years, clinics have started offering patients the option of having the DPCP applied at home. Often a spouse, parent or friend will be trained to properly and safely apply the DPCP for the patient. This is frequently termed “outpatient” DPCP. Many clinics around the world, including ours have been supporting patients with “outpatient” DPCP for many years.
A recent study by Lee and colleagues showed that outpatient DPCP is just as safe as DPCP application in a dermatology clinic setting. This is great reassurance for the large numbers of patients who could potentially benefit from this much underused and often forgotten about treatment. DPCP can be safety applied at home provided patients and family members receive proper training on application techniques and safety principles.
Lee S et al. Home-based contact immunotherapy with diphenylcyclopropenone for alopecia areata is as effective and safe as clinic-based treatment in patients with stable disease: A retrospective study of 40 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887