Tofacitinib, The new remedy for alopecia areata?
Tofacitinib is a much-discussed drug lately for the treatment of alopecia areata. Studies show that about 80% of men and 50% of women are affected in their lifetime by forms of alopecia before they turn 50.
In recent years, we have been hearing more and more about new remedies that are advertised by pharmaceutical companies and are widely available on the market, but which are the subject of controversy in the medical world because they generate discordant opinions among specialists in the field.
One example is Tofacitinib, a drug prescribed for adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis that appears to stimulate hair follicles in individuals with alopecia areata.
Alopecia Areata and Tofacitinib, Brief Description of Pathology
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by sudden hair loss that generally manifests as glabrous patches on the scalp.
It can extend to the entire scalp (we speak in this case of alopecia total) or affect, in addition to the scalp, body hair such as eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic hair, etc. (it is defined by the term alopecia universal).
Why would Tofacitinib work as a remedy for alopecia areata?
Some researchers claim that there is a genetic component common to psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and alopecia and this is the reason why it seems that the drug Tofacitinib represents a remedy for baldness.
Are there any studies in favor of this thesis?
The research team at Yale University administered the drug to a patient with plaque psoriasis and alopecia areata and noticed, after 8 months, a significant improvement in psoriasis and a significant regrowth of body hair and hair.
The Columbia University then decided to conduct a more in-depth study by administering the drug to a sample of mice recording a regrowth in the hairless areas.
Does tofacitinib really work?
Confirming the validity of these studies and consequently of the product is rather complex, first of all because alopecia areata is a changing condition and one cannot be sure that the regrowth of hairs is due to the drug and not to physiological reasons.
To date, no studies and research have been conducted on the effects of Tofacitinib on individuals with androgenetic alopecia, the most common form of baldness.
In addition, both trials were conducted on overly limited samples and it is therefore impossible to make definitive assessments.
Finally, it is important to consider the side effects of Tofacitinib. We recall fever, headache, breathing difficulties, weakness, muscle pain, slowing of the immune system to defend against infections.