- Alopecia refers to hair loss, whether it is partial, in the form of spots or completely.
- It is the first systemic treatment, that is, it acts on the whole organism and not just on the affected area.
- The drug has been used since 2018 for people with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, and in some cases for people with Covid-19.
300,000 people develop alopecia and hair loss in the United States. Since Monday, June 13, they can get the oral treatment. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US health authority, has approved the use of Olumiant, which contains baricitinib, to treatAlopecia areata.
An autoimmune disease
“Access to safe and effective treatment options is critical to the large number of Americans with severe alopecia areataKendall Marcus, MD, director of the division of dermatology at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. Today’s approval will help address a huge, hitherto unmet need for patients with alopecia areata.”
In this autoimmune disease, the body attacks the hair follicles, and this leads to hair loss, often in bundles. According to the French Society of Dermatology, male pattern hair loss “It is a natural, banal, repetitive development of the normal life of the hair and can begin from puberty when it is in an acute form.. It is often related to hormones or genes. In women, it can be caused by iron deficiency, thyroid disorders, treatments, or diseases, such as polycystic ovaries. “Once all possible causes have been ruled out, it is considered androgenetic alopecia of familial origin, as in humans.”defines SFD.
Various doses have been tested
The authorized drug is a Janus kinase inhibitor, which prevents inflammation in the body by acting on several enzymes. Its effect on alopecia areata has been validated by two studies on people who have had alopecia for more than six months and have lost at least 50% of their hair. Two doses were tested: the first was 2 mg of Olumiant per day, the second was 4 mg per day, and the last group, known as the control group, took a placebo for the duration of the study, that is, 36 weeks. According to the authors, the drug is considered effective when the hair grows back by at least 80%.
In the first trial, 22% of participants who took 2 mg of Olumiant and 35% of those who took 4 mg of Olumiant regained satisfactory scalp hair coverage, compared to 5% of patients who took the placebo. In the second trial, 17% of patients who took 2 mg of Olumiant and 32% of those who took 4 mg of Olumiant achieved the same result, compared to 3% of the control group.
Various side effects have been identified
These studies are also allowed to shed light on the side effects of treatment. The most common are upper respiratory infections, headaches, acne, increased cholesterol levels, and even liver fatigue. This medicine is not recommended for people who are taking other JAK inhibitors, biological immunosuppressants, cyclosporine or other immunosuppressants.