An arthritis drug may help treat persons with alopecia, which is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. The rheumatoid arthritis drug may actually help promote hair growth, based on findings from a small study.
The researchers found that over 50 percent of the 66 patients who were treated experienced hair regrowth within three months.
Dr. Brett King, assistant professor of dermatology at Yale, said, “There is hope now that we will have more to tell patients than get counseling and a wig.”
The drug seems to block the immune system’s attacks on the hair follicles. The researchers also identified the genes that may predict a person’s response to the treatment.
Whether the effects of hair regrowth are permanent is unknown, but researchers are hopeful that if treatment takes place long enough it can put the condition into remission.
The FDA will need to review the findings of the present study, and a larger study must take place before doctors can start prescribing the arthritis drug as a treatment for alopecia.
Right now, the drug is not approved for alopecia and it may not be covered by insurance, but the researchers suggest that doctors may be able to convince insurers to cover the treatment.