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ESPERIENZE DERMATOLOGICHE

A Journal on Dermatology


Journal of Istituto Dermatologico San Gallicano
Official Journal of the Associazione Dermatologi Ospedalieri Italiani - A.D.O.I.
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Esperienze Dermatologiche 2013 December;15(4):159-62

language: English

Iron metabolism in Italian patients affected by alopecia areata and chronic telogen effluvium

Barbieri L. 1, Sperduti I. 2, Biolcati G. 1

1 Porphyria and Hereditary Rare Metabolic Diseases Centre, San Gallicano Dermatological Institute-IRCCS, Rome, Italy;
2 Biostatistical Unit, Scientific Direction, San Gallicano Dermatological Institute-IRCCS, Rome, Italy


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Some authors suggest that iron deficiency may contribute to pathogenesis of chronic telogen effluvium and alopecia areata. We determined the prevalence of nonanemic iron deficiency, iron deficiency anemia and iron overload in two of the most common types of nonscarring alopecia in Italian population: alopecia areata and chronic telogen effluvium. Italian patients affected by alopecia areata and chronic telogen effluvium registered in a computerized database of “Porphyria and hereditary rare metabolic diseases Centre” of San Gallicano Institute in Rome were screened. Only patients with evaluation of iron metabolism, complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and/or C-reactive protein, were included in this study. In the alopecia areata group, nonanemic iron deficiency was detected in 20 patients (12.5%), iron deficiency anemia in 9 patients (5.6%). Therefore, the overall prevalence of iron deficiency was 18%. Iron overload was detected in 9 patients (5.6%) and two of these were affected by hereditary hemochromatosis. In chronic telogen effluvium group, nonanemic iron deficiency was detected in 13 patients (29%), iron deficiency anemia in 8 patients (18%). Therefore, the overall prevalence of iron deficiency was 47,7%. Iron overload was detected in 2% of patients. Our results showed an increased prevalence of iron deficiency in women of childbearing age affected by chronic telogen effluvium and in children affected by alopecia areata. Although iron deficiency is frequent, evaluation of iron metabolism needs to be performed before iron supplementation.

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