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New Research Shows Arthritis Drug May Reverse Hair Loss
by April Maguire
Hair loss is one of the most common issues in the world. While the majority of this hair loss is the result of androgenetic alopecia – otherwise known as male/female pattern baldness – some of it is due to other conditions. One of the most damaging and distressing of these conditions is an autoimmune disorder known as alopecia areata.
For sufferers of alopecia areata, the ensuing hair loss can be incredibly upsetting. With this condition, the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, destroying them and causing hair loss. On a small scale, this hair loss can occur in small patches, but on a large scale it can also result in complete hair loss over the entire body, including the head, torso, eyebrows and even the eyelashes.
Unfortunately for people with alopecia areata, there is no guaranteed cure-all. Currently, one of the most common treatments includes the injection of immunosuppressants into the areas where patients are experiencing hair loss, but this can result in some pretty serious side effects. Alternatively, some physicians treat the conditions using skin creams and oral medications to regulate the body’s immune system. But manipulating the body’s immune system in this way can leave patients more prone to disease, infection, nausea and loss of appetite.
A New Alternative
Luckily, new research may point to an alternative method of treatment that could do wonders for people suffering from alopecia areata. This new course of treatment revolves around a drug called Xeljanz, which was originally designed to help patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, however, researchers have concluded that the drug can reverse the effects of alopecia areata and help patients to regrow hair.
So why does Xeljanz have this effect? Amazingly, the drug seems to work in much the same way that traditional immunosuppressive drugs do, albeit with side effects that are far more mild.
For the purposes of the study, the participants were given five milligrams of Xeljanz two times a day for a period of three months. In that time, more than half of the trial participants experienced a significant amount of regrowth, with some of the participants seeing almost a normal level of thickness and volume.
Sadly though, there are some drawbacks. First of all, Xeljanz is unlikely to work for other types of hair loss that don’t involve the immune system. Also, since the drug hasn’t been approved to treat alopecia areata, sufferers would be likely have to pay out-of-pocket for the treatment, which could cost upwards of $40,000 a year.
Still, the results of this study represent an important breakthrough. And as more research is done, new treatment options may evolve using Xeljanz as a model to treat effectively alopecia areata.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!