Baricitinib is in clinical development for the treatment of adults with alopecia areata (AA). AA is a disease that develops when the body attacks its own hair follicles (where the hair grows from), which can cause hair loss as small round patches of baldness anywhere on the body. Most commonly, this occurs on the scalp and has high rates of recurrence. There are also psychological implications such as increased levels of anxiety and depression in people with AA.
Baricitinib is an inhibitor of janus kinases (JAKs). JAKs play a major role in signalling for hair follicle growth, specifically JAK inhibitors impede the immune system (the body’s defence against germs), including pathways involved in antiviral immunity (i.e., type I and type II prominent interferon (IFN)), which appear to be active in AA. Additionally, as baricitinib can be taken orally it may increase adherence. If licensed, baricitinib would offer an additional treatment option for those with AA.
Ruxolitinib cream is in development for the treatment of vitiligo. Vitiligo is a common chronic skin condition where white patches develop on the skin, commonly on the hands and face. The condition is not life-threatening but can have an impact on self-esteem and wellbeing of sufferers. Risk factors include other autoimmune diseases and family history …