F.D.A Approves First Drug Restoring Hair Growth in Patients with Alopecia
The severe immunological disorder known as alopecia areata, is an autoimmune disorder affecting approximately 147 million people worldwide attacking the body’s immune system and hair follicles. Often marked by patchy or complete loss of scalp hair, alopecia areata can also affect eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair and body hair, however, is not life-threatening.
The Eli Lilly-produced medication has been permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be treated with the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor baricitinib, which is already used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Conducting a series of clinical trials using new medicine, a once-daily pill which goes by the product name Olumiant, Dr Brett King, an associate professor of dermatology at Yale Medical School, worked with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company.
Trials saw Olumiant helping one in three patients with severe alopecia areata regrow their hair. At the beginning of the studies, nearly 50% of the patients had no scalp hair, culminating in 80% or higher scalp coverage. Patients who had experienced considerable brow or eyelash hair loss also saw improvements.
Over the past ten years, a variety of intractable skin conditions, such as eczema, vitiligo, granuloma annulare, sarcoidosis, and erosive lichen planus, have been treated with JAK inhibitors in King's groundbreaking research. JAK inhibitors were initially developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and specific blood disorders.
"The medicines that have been used in the past to treat severe cases of alopecia areata are largely ineffective. However, lots of data show that a relatively new class of medicines called JAK inhibitors work for the treatment of severe alopecia areata," King explained.
"FDA approval will empower and enable health care providers to treat patients with severe alopecia areata," King continued.
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