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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 62, n° 3
pages 387-392 (mars 2010)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.08.054
accepted : 14 August 2009
Original Articles

Hydroxychloroquine and lichen planopilaris: Efficacy and introduction of Lichen Planopilaris Activity Index scoring system

Charles Chiang, MD a, Deborah Sah, MD b, Bryan K. Cho, MD c, Blanca E. Ochoa d, Vera H. Price, MD a,
a Department of Dermatology at University of California, San Francisco, California 
b Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Fremont Center, Fremont, California 
c Department of Dermatology at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Camino Medical Group, Mountain View, California 
d Department of Dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 

Reprint requests: Vera H. Price, MD, Department of Dermatology at University of California, San Francisco, 1701 Divisadero St, Third Floor, San Francisco, CA 94143.

Lichen planopilaris (LPP) and its variant frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) are primary lymphocytic cicatricial alopecias for which there is no evidence-based therapy.


We assessed the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in active LPP and FFA using the LPP Activity Index (LPPAI), a numeric score that allows quantification of the symptoms and signs of the condition for statistical comparison. In addition, we determined with the LPPAI if any improvement (reduction) in the numeric score pretreatment and posttreatment reached statistical significance.


This was a retrospective, single-center chart review of 40 adult patients with LPP, FFA, or both who were treated with hydroxychloroquine for up to 12 months from 2004 to 2007 at the University of California, San Francisco Hair Center. Symptoms, signs, activity, and spreading were scored at each visit in the standardized cicatricial alopecia flow chart. A numeric score was assigned to these markers of disease activity and a numeric score was calculated at each visit.


There was significant reduction (P < .001) in the LPPAI at both 6 and 12 months. After 6 months, 69% had improved (reduced) symptoms and signs. At 12 months, 83% had improvement (reduction) in symptoms and signs.


Retrospective analysis and uncontrolled study are limitations.


Hydroxychloroquine is effective in decreasing symptoms and signs in LPP and FFA as shown by significant reduction in the LPPAI in 69% and 83% of patients after 6 and 12 months of treatment, respectively.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Key words : cicatricial alopecia, frontal fibrosing alopecia, hydroxychloroquine, lichen planopilaris, Lichen Planopilaris Activity Index

Abbreviations used : FFA, LPP, LPPAI, UCSF

 Funding sources: None.
 Conflicts of interest: None declared.

© 2009  American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.@@#104156@@
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