The U.S. has officially approved a first-of-its-kind baldness drug
The FDA has recently been following a promising trial of a common arthritis drug’s ability to stimulate hair growth and is now ready to give the green light to Baricitinib as a treatment for focal alopecia. This makes the drug the first FDA-approved drug for the systemic treatment of alopecia in daily tablet form.
Baricitinib is a drug against rheumatoid arthritis, and it has recently caught the attention of scientists investigating ways to combat another autoimmune disease, focal alopecia. This disease affects more than 300,000 people in the U.S. each year and causes hair loss due to immune system attacks on hair follicles. The scientists’ assumption was based on the drug’s ability to interrupt follicle damage signaling pathways. Tests on 1,200 participants showed that one-third of them were able to grow hair by taking 4 milligrams of the drug every day. A dose of 2 milligrams resulted in hair improvement in almost one-fifth of the patients.
The drug will be marketed by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly under the brand name Olumiant, and it meets FDA safety and efficacy requirements, and when administered to the entire body, not to specific areas. The drug will be available in doses of 1, 2 and 4 milligrams per day, depending on the response to treatment.
Olumiant is a JAK inhibitor that blocks enzyme activity and is not recommended for use with other drugs of this type. Side effects include respiratory tract infections, headache, acne, and weight gain. It is worth noting that 2.2% of participants discontinued treatment precisely because of side effects during the clinical trials. But today, the public knows little about the disease, resulting in the social stigmatization of patients. The approval of Olumiant may give hope to many patients.