Clinical Study: Trichotilliomania or Hair Pulling Disorder

Trichotillomania (TTM)  or “Hair Pulling Disorder” (HPD)

Trichotillomania  (TTM) is tough enough to pronounce, but worse to live with. We’ll call it by its more common name of Hair Pulling Disorder, or HPD. It is a mental condition that makes those suffering from it have an urge to compulsively, repeatedly and unaccountably pull out their body hair. Do not think of it as a “disease,” which it is not, but a “disorder.”

What Causes HPD?

It is very rare (fewer than 200,000 cases per year in the US.) It can last a short or a long time. Its cause is unknown and although genetic and environmental factors may play a part, areas of the brain which control emotions, movement and impulse control are more likely suspects. The urge to pull one’s hair is commonly focused on the scalp, eyebrows and eyelids. Medical considerations aside, HPD can result in unsightly bare patches where hair has been pulled. Some sufferers are even unaware they are doing it until they notice the embarrassing results.

Can it be Treated?

Treatments are very limited and include counseling, some therapies and medications to control the impulse. It can manifest itself at all ages, is tough to treat, and often recurs. Clearly, it can cause significant distress and interfere with social functioning.

Dr. Sarah Atkinson and her staff at Finger Lakes Clinical Research/ERG is conducting a clinical research trial for men and women between ages 18 to 45, testing a promising compound to treat this disorder, determine safety, tolerability and effectiveness.

It is a 6-week study. During the treatment period you will be part of our research team and participate in a number of assessments, tests and evaluations. There is no cost to you and no insurance is required. You will also be paid a stipend for each visit for your time and travel expense. The study is sponsored by Promentis Pharmaceuticals and is carefully monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB).

You can get additional information by calling Dr. Atkinson’s office at (585)241-9670 during normal business hours and also online at Clinical Trials, a government website.

Not everyone is eligible for this or any clinical trial. You can review the “inclusion” and “exclusion” criteria at the ClinicalTrials.gov website, or in person with Dr. Atkinson and her staff.

If you, a friend or loved one suffers from this disorder, call 585-241-9670 to find out more. It will be well worth their time.