Study finds arthritis drug makes hair grow

A new study presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) in Boston, USA, found that baricitinib, an oral arthritis drug, can help the hair of patients with alopecia areata grow back.

During the research, one in three hairs grew back. The data were published in the scientific journal The New England Journal of Medicine.

hair grow

Credit: AndreyPopov/istockHair of patients with alopecia areata grew back with arthritis drug

There are currently no approved therapies for the autoimmune disorder, but these data may provide a pathway to treating patients with alopecia.

A total number of 654 patients with alopecia areata were presented in both studies. After a once-daily oral dose of baricitinib of 4 mg, 2 mg, or placebo for 36 weeks, the researchers assessed the severity of each patient’s alopecia.

What they observed is that at 36 weeks of treatment, about a third of patients who took the highest dose saw their hair grow back.

Similar results were also achieved with eyebrow and eyelash growth.


Credit: Chaichan Pramjit/istockDrug may indicate a way to treat people with alopecia

Despite the promising result, the study observed acne, creatine kinase levels, and low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels more in patients treated with baricitinib than placebo.

alopecia areata

The condition is an autoimmune disease that leads to hair loss. Some people lose their hair in just a few spots. Others lose more. Sometimes the hair grows back, but it falls out again later.

The disease can affect anyone, regardless of age and sex, although most cases occur before age 30.

The most common form of treatment for alopecia areata is the use of corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system.

Alopecia areata is the same condition as Jada Pinkett, wife of actor Will Smith. The illness became a hot topic this week after Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars for a joke the comedian made about Jada’s shaved head.

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