Baricitinib (Olumiant) Approved by FDA for Alopecia Areata

Baricitinib (Olumiant) Approved by FDA for Alopecia Areata

Around 90-95 percent of people with hair loss suffer from androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as male pattern baldness. Just 1-2 percent suffer from alopecia areata (AA), aka patchy hair loss due to an autoimmune problem.

However, in recent years, alopecia areata (and the related alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis) have been in the news  almost every week. Most of the coverage entails miraculous before and after hair growth results via the use of JAK inhibitors. I covered this subject close to ten times a few years ago.

FDA Approves Baricitinib for Alopecia Areata

Yesterday, the US FDA approved Olumiant (baricitinib) oral tablets to treat adult patients with severe alopecia areata. This drug is sold by Eli Lilly and Incyte. This once-a-day pill is the first ever approved in-disease systemic treatment for adults with severe alopecia areata (AA).

Note that Olumiant was already approved for treating moderate and severe rheumatoid arthritis. The approval for alopecia areata was based on Lilly’s BRAVE-AA1 and BRAVE-AA2 trials. These were the largest Phase 3 clinical trials ever completed in humans suffering from AA. Both trials were led by Yale University’s Dr. Brett King.

Baricitinib Hair Growth
Baricitinib Hair Growth in Alopecia Areata Patients. Before and After. Source: Dr. Brett King et al in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Note that Aclaris Therapeutics originally got the patent rights for the use of baricitinib in treating hair loss in 2017. Earlier this year, I also discussed some phenomenal before and after baricitinib hair growth results. The photos can seen above, courtesy of Dr. Brett King and his work.

JAK Inhibitors

A number of other JAK inhibitors have shown impressive results in treating alopecia totalis and universalis. Among the more famous of these include ruxolitinib, tofacitinib and decernotinib. See all my past posts covering JAK inhibitors for more details.