The question of JAK Inhibitors as a safe treatment for alopecia areata is a popular one.
The reports of hair regrowth with ruxolitinib or tofacitinib citrate reach patients and mainstream readers with increasing frequency nowadays. You may have heard of Xeljanz (Pfizer), the brand name for tofacitinib or Jakavi (Novartis), the brand name for ruxolitinib.
Clinical trials in several esteemed US medical centers continue to test both these drugs and others we have reported on. Dermatologists in clinical practice are taking a closer look at their options.
Dr. Jeff Donovan (Donovan Hair Clinic, Vancouver, Canada) is one of a growing number of dermatologists adding oral JAK Inhibitors as a treatment option for select alopecia areata ( totalis/universalis) patients in their clinical practices.
We cited Dr. Donovan in our article here and turn to him again for an update from his blog.
"The JAK inhibitors in Alopecia Areata: More Data"
- Oral Ruxolitinib: "Mackay-WIggans reported results of an open label trial of 12 patients with moderate to severe alopecia areata using oral ruxolitinib at a dose of 20 mg twice daily for 3-6 months followed by 3 months off the drug. 9 of 12 patients reported growth with no serious adverse events".
- Oral Tofacitinib: "Researchers from Yale and Columbia University reported results of a study of 66 patients with advanced alopecia areata (including totalis and universalis). Patients received tofacitinib 5 mg twice daily for three months. Patients with alopecia totalis and universalis were less responsive than patients with alopecia areata but overall about one-third of patients experienced significant improvement".
Comments on results: "What was also very important to note was patients relapsed very quickly when the medication was stopped – losing hair within 8.5 weeks of stopping".
Who is helped most? "These JAK inhibitors continue to show evidence of being helpful for patients with advanced alopecia areata. We have been using tofacitinib for some time now and it's clear that in advanced alopecia areata it offers the potential to help a lot".
A cure? "The study I mentioned second reminds us that these are not cures and that patients lose hair when the treatment is stopped".
Are you considering this type of treatment? Share your experience below.