Alopecia sufferers have been given fresh hope for a cure after an arthritis drug has recently shown outstanding success at treating the condition. Two patients even experienced regrowth after suffering from the most extreme form of the condition, alopecia universalis, for ten years.
The drug, known as Tofacitinib, was studied as a potential alopecia treatment by Brazilian scientists and the results have now raised the hopes of millions of sufferers worldwide.
JAK Inhibitors could be key to alopecia cure
Tofacitinib is one of many drugs referred to as JAK Inhibitors. Currently used to treat a range of other conditions such as arthritis and cancer, these JAK Inhibitors have recently been tested as a potential treatment for alopecia.
Now, this new Brazilian study has strengthened the case to eventually expand their use to the treatment of hair loss such as alopecia.
Understanding the results
Whilst JAK Inhibitors have proven to be a success thus far in studies carried out in the US, it is the Brazilian study which has offered the most exciting results.
After trying numerous drug treatments prescribed by their doctor and experiencing no improvement, two of the patients involved in the study started to experience regrowth. Hair began to regrow on their scalp, armpits, and eyebrows after taking Tofacitinib each day for two months. They took the drug for nine months in total.
It appears the drug works equally as well on both sexes too, as one patient was male and the other female. Neither experienced any severe side effects.
Now, the researchers from the San Paulo Albert Einstein Hospital are hoping the results will lead to more in-depth research into whether Tofacitinib would make a safe and effective treatment for alopecia sufferers.
Further research required into this possible hair loss cure
The main issue however is safety. No patients taking part in the small Brazilian study reported severe side effects, but these drugs are known to have a link to serious infections, along with intestinal and stomach tears. This can be justified when they are used to treat life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, but in terms of alopecia, which is merely more of a psychological risk, there is a reluctance to introduce the treatment onto the mainstream market.
Overall, JAK Inhibitors have provided an exciting breakthrough in the search for an alopecia cure. However, there are still questions which need to be addressed before they can be seriously considered as a viable treatment option.
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