Hair loss – new therapy now gives hope – health

In almost 40 percent of the treated patients, the hair grew back completely or almost completely after 36 weeks. Nothing effective so far.

The disease can vary in severity, but for some it can be life-changing – a complete loss of body hair, including eyelashes and eyebrows, even nose hair and hair in the ears. Until recently, there was no treatment available for people with alopecia areata to regrow hair. But now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA has approved a drug for the first time. Olumiant, which contains the active ingredient baricitinib, regrows hair by preventing the immune system from attacking the hair follicles. It is the first hair loss medication that works on the whole body. Until now, patients have had to rely on cosmetic solutions, creams and injections to manage the disease.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out in whole or in part. In severe cases, however, it is much worse. Starting with a small bald spot on the head, three months or even three weeks later the body can lose its hair. The disease progresses in phases and affects women and men equally. The course of alopecia areata is unpredictable. It can progress steadily over years, suddenly disappear again after months or oscillate between phases of aggravation and decline for a longer period of time.

Plucking nose hair can have life-threatening consequences

Hair grows back completely

The drug, made by Eli Lilly, was tested in two studies involving patients who would have lost at least 50 percent of their hair for more than six months. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 1,200 patients with severe alopecia areata (at least 50 percent hair loss) took part. Almost 40 percent of patients taking the drug had their hair completely or almost completely regrown after 36 weeks. After a year, almost half of the patients had their hair back.

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The new alopecia preparation.

Once a day

Patients experienced relatively few side effects, including a slightly increased risk of acne, urinary tract infections, and other infections. These side effects were easily treatable or got better without treatment. “Olumiant” is a once-daily pill sold in three different doses, Lilly said Monday. The preparation is available in three different dosages: 4 milligrams, 2 milligrams, 1 milligram. The list price for a 30-day supply of the medium dose is $2,497.

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