Diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP) Solution

DPCP Solution

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This medication requires a prescription from your doctor.

2% Sensitizing Solution and 1% Treatment Solution

Diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP) is a type of topical immunotherapy used for treating alopecia areata, molluscum contagiosum, and warts. It is dosed similarly to squaric acid with a 2% sensitizing solution given first, followed by a weaker concentration used either bi-weekly, weekly, or monthly. Response is judged by there being a mild reaction of itching and redness in the area for at least 24 hours. DPCP is not yet available commercially and can only be made by a compounding pharmacy.

Conditions Treated with DPCP

The conditions treated with diphenylcyclopropenone solution include:

Alopecia Areata: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss, particularly on the scalp. Response rates of alopecia areata to treatment with DPCP have been as high as 70-80%. When treatment is continued for longer periods of time, the response rate is usually better.

Molluscum Contagiosum: Molluscum contagiosum is a common, contagious condition caused by a viral infection and is mostly found in children. Most patients will heal without intervention in a few months but this is not always the case. Compared to more invasive treatments like curettage and cryotherapy, DPCP is less painful and has less adverse effects while having a good success rate.

Warts: Viral warts also respond to treatment with DPCP. Warts are can be difficult to treat and frequently return after removal. Similar to molluscum contagiosum, warts can be painful to remove with traditional methods. DPCP treatment is less painful and has been shown to have an excellent success rate and high patient approval.

How DPCP is Used

DPCP application after sensitization causes allergic contact dermatitis in the majority of individuals. Treatment with DPCP starts with a sensitizing solution of 2% DPCP applied to an approximate 5cm x 5cm area. The patient needs to avoid washing the area after application of the sensitizing solution and protect it from sunlight. After two weeks (this timeframe can vary) this is followed by topical application of the lower concentration to the affected areas, usually about 1mL of solution. A response to treatment involves erythema and itching similar to a mild allergic reaction.

Diphenylcyclopropenone is highly sensitive to sunlight, so the product must be stored in the refrigerator. In addition, after it is applied to the skin, the area should be covered and protected from sun exposure.


Clinical Efficacy of Diphenylcyclopropenone in Alopecia Areata – Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Treatment of molluscum contagiosum with topical diphencyprone therapy. – Acta Dermato-Venereologica

Topical Immunotherapy with Diphenylcyclopropenone Is Effective and Preferred in the Treatment of Periungual Warts – Annals of Dermatology

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