Topical Ruxolitinib for the Treatment of Alopecia Universalis

Dec 21, 2015

More exciting news for an emerging treatment in alopecia areata, and one patients tend to feel more comfortable with: a topical medication applied directly to the affected areas of hair loss.  In the alopecia areata (AA) community, we are more or less familiar with the term “JAK inhibitors” as potential therapy for alopecia areata. Because of their role as immune modulators, having them available as topical agents is a very promising concept, and it has already been tested in mouse models. 

In this month’s online issue of JAMA Dermatology, Dr. Craiglow and colleagues from Yale University, describe a case of a patient with alopecia universalis “in her late teens” treated with topical ruxolitinib 0.6%. She was otherwise healthy, with borderline low white blood cell counts, and apprehensive to try oral medication. A decision was made to treat with a topical ruxolitinib 0.6% ointment 2 times daily to her scalp and eyebrows. After 12 weeks of applications, her eyebrows regrew to nearly normal, and she had 10 % scalp regrowth. There were no reported clinical adverse effects, with laboratory studies indicating a small and stable decrease in white blood cell counts.

This case report opens doors to more research on topical administration of JAK inhibitors, which may be a suitable therapy for the pediatric population. The systemic absorption and monitoring parameters need to be fully assessed and studied in greater detail.

Click here to view the article abstract online or order the full text. 

Author: Dr. Natasha Atanaskova Mesinkovska, Chief Scientific Officer

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