Transplants have become the only option to grow full hair. But not anymore. A new treatment from Yale University has revolutionised the search for a hair loss cure. It has given hope to thousands of men and women searching for a cure for hair loss.
There has been no cure for alopecia universalis – a condition that causes loss of hair over the entire scalp and body. But doctors at Yale University in New Haven, CT recently reported their success in restoring hair loss on the head and other parts of the body by using a treatment used to treat arthritis. This is the first time a successful treatment has been found for the disease.
The treatment uses an FDA-approved drug for rheumatoid arthritis called tofacitinib citrate. Tofacitinib spurs hair growth by turning off the immune system attack on hair follicles that is prompted by the disease.
This patient is a 25-year-old man without hair on his head, including eyebrows and eyelashes. He was administered tofacitinib at 10 mg daily for the first two months. The patient’s psoriasis showed some improvement, and the man had grown scalp and facial hair. Then he was administered another 15 mg daily for three months, including therapy. The patient completely regrew his scalp hair and also had clearly visible eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial hair, as well as armpit and other hair.
In eight months, the patient had fully regrown hair, with no reported side effects and no lab abnormalities, either. This result is a huge step forward in the treatment of patients with the condition.
Tofacitinib has already been a success in the treatment of psoriasis, a condition that causes scaly red areas to develop on the skin. In lab mice, tofacitinib has been shown to reverse a less extreme form of alopecia called alopecia areata. It’s from these findings that the doctors tried to see whether the drug could tackle alopecia universalis as well as psoriasis.
The challenge is it’s not clear whether someone with the condition will have to keep taking the drug for life. The patient said he continues to take the drug not so much for his full head of hair but because the drug has helped his psoriasis, giving him skin free from pain and bleeding.