The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the drug baricitinib for severe hair loss. The active ingredient has so far been used in Covid-19 and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that the tablet is also effective in alopecia.
Hair loss can be very annoying. The new drug gives hope. A few days ago, baricitinib was approved in the United States for the treatment of severe alopecia. Alopecia means “hairless”. In severe cases, this means a completely bald head.
Baricitinib regulates inflammatory reactions
The JAK inhibitor baricitinib (OLUMIANT) has been approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis since 2017 due to its anti-inflammatory effect. The active ingredient also obtained emergency approval for the treatment of patients with Covid oxygen dependence in the hospital.
80 percent of their hair has grown
Two studies involving a total of 1,200 adults with severe alopecia have shown that the tablet is also effective in alopecia. After 36 weeks of treatment, 80 percent of the hair grew back in one of the three study participants at the highest dose – 4 mg a day. In the lower dose group – 2 mg daily – this success occurred in every fourth participant. In the placebo group, it was only 5 percent. Patients with eyelash or eyebrow loss also benefited from baricitinib 4 mg daily.
Baricitinib approval “will help meet a significant unmet need for patients with severe alopecia areata,” said FDA Director of Dermatology Kendall Marcus.
Not without side effects
The most common side effects with baricitinib were upper respiratory tract infections, headache, nausea, fatigue and changes in blood counts. It is still unclear whether baricitinib will be approved in Europe for the treatment of severe alopecia.