Scientist Successfully Treated Alopecia Universalis Using Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug

There is no treatment or cure for alopecia universalis, an unusual autoimmune disease that leads to loss of hair over the whole scalp and body. Now physicians at Yale University, document how they efficiently repaired hair on the head and other aarticle-0-1EF09ED800000578-546_308x185reas of the body in a 25-year- old man with the condition that had left him almost entirely hairless all over.

They write about the therapy and the outcomes in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and states that it is the initial reported case of an efficiently aimed treatment for this rare type of alopecia areata, which takes place when the immune system wrongly attacks the hair follicles.

After the therapy, which uses an FDA-approved drug for rheumatoid arthritis known as tofacitinib citrate, the individual obtained a full head of hair, plus facial, eyelashes and eyebrows,  underarm, groin and other hair, none of which he had when he initial sought medical help.

Senior author Brett A. King, states that the outcomes were specifically what they hoped for, and signify a “huge step forward” in dealing with sufferers with the situation. He adds:

“While it’s one case, we expected the successful therapy of this man based on our present understanding of the disease and the drug. We think the same outcomes will be replicated in other sufferers, and we plan to try.”

Along with alopecia universalis, the individual had also been diagnosed with one more condition known as plaque psoriasis, which leads to scaly red areas to grow on the skin. The only hair he had on his body was in the psoriasis plaques on his head.

His physician referred him to Yale’s dermatology unit for therapy of the psoriasis – he had never obtained treatment for alopecia universalis.

Tofacitinib had currently been used efficiently in humans to treat psoriasis – and in lab mice, it has been proven to reverse a less excessive form of alopecia known as alopecia areata. So it made sense, the scientists thought, to see if the medicine could deal with the alopecia universalis as well as the psoriasis.

“There are no great options for long-term therapy of alopecia universalis,” Prof. King describes, “The best accessible science recommended this might work, and it has.”

Hair growth noticeable after 2 months of treatment

To begin with, the group put the sufferer on a 5 mg twice daily dose of tofacitinib. After 2 months, his psoriasis started to improve, and he had hair on his scalp and face – for the 1st time in 7 years.

From then on, the scientists enhanced the dose to 15 mg a day. After an additional 3 months, the individual had a full head of hair, and had also grown in other parts of the body.

Following 8 months of therapy, all his hair had regrown, say the scientists, adding that they noticed no lab abnormalities and the sufferer reported feeling no side effects.

Prof. King indicates the drug – which is developed to treat the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis – prevents the immune system targeting the hair follicles. He has previously suggested a trial using a cream form of the medicine as a therapy for alopecia areata.

With respect to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, there are about 2.5 million People in America with alopecia areata, which impacts both men and women equally and can surface at any age, but most usually during childhood.