New Medication Could Treat Hair Loss Condition

There is a new medication that could help with sudden hair loss.

Scientists say a new type of medication, JAK inhibitors, can effectively treat moderate to severe alopecia areata, a hair loss condition that has been historically difficult to treat.

A study of its effectiveness conducted by Yale University was published in August in a supplement to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Because alopecia areata is an inflammatory condition, a JAK inhibitor will essentially reduce the inflammation that is fueling the disease and bring your immune system back into balance,” said dermatologist Dr. Sandra Johnson. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in Little Rock.

“The development of JAK inhibitors has given us another treatment to improve the lives of patients with alopecia areata,” Johnson said in a news release from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Studies suggest Alopecia areata is more common among African Americans but less common among Asians, compared with white. However, scientists report the condition is often common amongst kids but can happen at any age. It involves sudden hair loss with affected patches that grow larger. In some cases, it spreads to the entire head or body.

There are approximately 2.5 million people in the United States affected by alopecia areata, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. The condition is often common in those who have a close blood relative with the disease and in people who have been treated for cancer with a drug called nivolumab (Opdivo). Medical conditions such as asthma, hay fever, eczema, thyroid disease, vitiligo and Down syndrome also increase alopecia areata risk.

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