Top 50 Hair Loss Treatments: #16 Xeljanz (tofacitinib)

#16 Xeljanz (tofacitinib)

XELJANZ in combination with methotrexate (MTX) is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients who have responded inadequately to, or who are intolerant to one or more disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. XELJANZ can be given as monotherapy in case of intolerance to MTX or when treatment with MTX is inappropriate.  XELJANZ has also been used to combat common alopecia conditions such as male and female pattern baldness.

Can Xeljanz treat hair loss effectively?

There is currently no cure for Alopecia Universalis although a range of treatments have been explored, the most recent being the rheumatoid arthritis drug, Tofacitinib Citrate.

Made by Pfizer using the brand name Xeljanz, tofacitinib citrate is a Janus-associated kinase (JAK) inhibitor which works inside cells to disrupt intracellular activities inside the JAK pathways. These are paths within our cells that are used by some signalling proteins (cytokines) to help control immune and inflammatory responses. It is a small, film-coated pill which is taken orally.

Tofacitinib citrate was approved by the FDA for the treatment of moderate to severe cases of the autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, in adults in November 2012 but was dogged by complaints – firstly about the cost, then about the side effects.

Xeljanz is currently FDA-approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in the USA and has also received similar approvals for use in Argentina, Columbia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Switzerland. Japan have also approved tofacitinib citrate for this type of treatment in adults, however, there it goes by the brand name Jaquinus.

The drug – which is unavailable in the UK as it has not been granted a license by the Medicines and Health care products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – had previously been used to successfully treat psoriasis in humans and to reverse lesser forms of alopecia in mice.

More tests are needed in order to establish its effectiveness when treating hair loss, but the early signs are good.  Much like Minoxidil, Tofacitinib tablets has been identified as a potential hair loss treatment, by total accident. However, much like FDA approved pills Finasteride (Propecia), Xeljanz does come with some potential side-effects.  Should the risk of side-effects become eradicated, this has the potential to become a major market breakthrough.

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