US approves first pill for treatment of alopecia | World News

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a drug called Barisitinib as the first oral tablet to treat acute alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that affects more than 300,000 people in the United States each year.

Alopecia can cause temporary or permanent hair loss, which can affect any hair-bearing site in the body, leading to emotional distress. The situation has recently come to the fore through high-profile cases, including Hollywood actress Jada Pinkett Smith and Congresswoman Ayanna Presley.

“Access to safe and effective treatment options is critical for a significant number of Americans suffering from severe alopecia,” FDA official Kendall Marcus said in a statement.

Also Read: 5 surprising reasons behind your sudden hair loss

“Today’s approval will help meet the significant unmet need for patients with severe alopecia areata.”

Barisitinib, manufactured by US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and known by the trade name Olumiant, belongs to a class of drugs called Janus kinase inhibitors. It works by disrupting the cellular pathway leading to inflammation.

Its approval for use against alopecia is based on the results of two randomized, controlled clinical trials involving a total of 1,200 adults with severe alopecia.

Each trial divided participants into three groups: the placebo group, the group that received the two-milligram dose daily, and the group that received the four-milligram dose daily.

After 36 weeks, about 40 percent of high-dose people grew 80 percent of their scalp hair, compared to about 23 percent of the low-dose group and five percent of the placebo group.

Approximately 45 percent of the high-dose group saw significant eyebrow and eyelid regrowth.

Also Read: A woman suffering from alopecia shares her journey. Watch an inspiring video

The most common side effects include upper respiratory tract infections, headache, acne, high cholesterol, and an increase in creatine phosphokinase.

Prior treatments for alopecia included topical or oral medications, but these were considered clinical and none approved.

Boricitinib was previously approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and its license was extended to hospitalized covidin patients during the Kovid epidemic.

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