Arthritis drug reverses bald man’s alopecia universalis

On this blog, I primarily focus on androgenic alopecia, which is also known as male pattern baldness (MPB).  This kind of baldness results from male hormones (in particular, the derivative dihydrotestosterone, aka DHT) and an individual’s scalp hair follicles’ genetic susceptibility to miniaturization when under the influence of DHT.  The vast majority of men who suffer from hair loss are experiencing androgenic alopecia.

A less common form of hair loss is called alopecia areata in which hair is lost from some areas of the body in small clumps.  More severe forms of alopecia areata include alopecia totalis (when hair is lost from the whole scalp) and alopecia universalis (when hair is lost from all over the body, including the scalp).

Today, it was announced that Yale scientists had cured alopecia universalis on a man via just administering an existing FDA-approved rheumatoid arthritis drug called tofacitinib citrate (brand name Xeljanz, manufactured by Pfizer).  The photos they presented are quite extraordinary (also see study link at the end of this post):

(Photos courtesy Yale University)

Source: The Society for Investigative Dermatology and Yale University.  Before and 8 months after photos.

Besides curing this person’s hair loss, the drug also significantly improved his psoriasis! Dr. Brett King and his wife Dr. Brittany Craiglow (the two scientists leading this experiment), credited Dr. Angela Christiano‘s earlier work (in which tofacitinib as well as ruxolitinib reversed alopecia areata in mice) as inspiring them to try this experiment in one of their human patients.  They now hope to start larger clinical trials.

I believe that there could also be an autoimmune inflammatory process involved with androgenic alopecia (just as with alopecia areata and psoriasis).  A large proportion of men suffering from androgenic alopecia complain about scalp itching, dryness, dandruff and psoriasis type symptoms.  Many find Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to be particularly effective at dealing with this inflammation.  It would be quite something if tofacitinib also helped people like us who are suffering from androgenic alopecia.

Surprisingly, the full article titled “Killing Two Birds with One Stone: Oral Tofacitinib Reverses Alopecia Universalis in a Patient with Plaque Psoriasis” is available online at present, but I do not expect that to last.

Update: CNN also now published this story, with a word of caution from George Cotsarelis regarding the side effects of tofacitinib, his opinion that there is no immune system component to androgenic alopecia, as well as more details about the actual patient (see photo below).

Kyle Rhodes had a full head of hair after eight months when he began using an arthritis drug to treat his alopecia areata.

Update: Interesting update from Australian newspaper where Dr. King says he is getting 200-300 e-mails a day about this.




4 thoughts on “Arthritis drug reverses bald man’s alopecia universalis”

  1. I have hair but dark all around thin and blondish front hair line and crown, strangely two froms of color on my head, ok my diet is amazing I workout, I don’t smoke I don’t drink. I am a.dance teacher in hopes to get my hair back and knowingly I have hair its quit thin and hard to explain but its there hard to see. I believe I can get all my hair back if I could just get help. Money is tight but this has become an emotional problem and I pray all the time to gain this wish. Thanks for reading my comment, im.amazed by the stories ive heard about hair growth.

  2. I wish people like this lot would stop offering false hope. Genetic hair loss is not the same as alopecia so there’s that ‘hope’ dead and buried. It also really irks me when we are told in a manner of fanfare that possible (and they only hint possible) cures are some 10 or 20 years away. For Christ’s sake. Tell me when you’ve actually got the magic potion; just don’t tell me it’s umpteen years away! Incredible to believe that it’s 2014 and baldness is still a blight.

    1. I’m 30 years old and have alopecia universalis sense I was 27 years old , I’m praying that soon Dr. Brett King will have the solution to put to a end on this immune problem that causes so many of us suffer this condition God Bless Dr King.

  3. I have AGA also vitiligo it’s now going on 2 years 2 months. I would love to try anything ,I’m 64 years old so if you want Call me please what do i have to lose. I STILL HAVE SOME HAIR BUT NOT FOR LONG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *