Topical metformin as a novel therapy for alopecia areata due to its immunologic effects

    October 2023 in “Medical Hypotheses
    Pejman Kokhabi, Sahar Dadkhahfar, Reza M. Robati
    TLDR Metformin, usually used for diabetes, can also help treat hair loss from alopecia areata due to its ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate new hair growth.
    Metformin, a common treatment for type 2 diabetes, may also be effective in treating alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease causing hair loss. Metformin's immunomodulatory properties can reduce inflammation and autoimmunity in alopecia areata through several mechanisms, including inhibiting the mTOR and JAK-STAT pathways, promoting cellular autophagy, and increasing the cellular AMPK enzyme. These actions decrease inflammatory cell proliferation and cytokine production, key factors in alopecia areata's pathogenesis. Metformin can also stimulate new hair growth by inducing autophagy and stem cell production. Topical application of metformin has been linked to minor side effects like scalp dryness and irritation, but no systemic side effects have been reported. Given its availability and affordability, metformin could be a beneficial treatment for alopecia areata.
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