In the case of circular hair loss (alopecia areata), those affected lose their hair – this can range from single bald spots to loss of the entire crown. The suffering is great, but there is now hope in the form of tablets that have now been approved by the US authorities.
The slap in the face of Hollywood star Will Smith at the Oscars drew attention to the hair loss condition of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. In this country, the new “bachelorette party” Sharon Battiste recently revealed that she suffers from alopecia areata. But there is hope. In the United States, there was now official green light for a circular hair loss drug that those affected can take orally. In the studies, the patients had regained 80% of their hair coverage.
Medication against circular hair loss
The condition, which often presents as patchy baldness, affects more than 300,000 people in the United States each year.1 According to Alopecia Areata Deutschland eV, there are 1.5 million people in Germany with various forms of inflammatory hair loss.2
There is now good news for them. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved Eli Lilly’s Olumiant as a drug for the treatment of alopecia areata. These are tablets already available on the US market, previously for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
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Tablets tested in two studies
The now approved tablets have been tested in two studies involving patients who had lost at least 50% of their hair for more than six months. The measure of the drug’s effectiveness was the number of patients who regained at least 80% hair coverage by week 36.
In both clinical trials, scientists randomly divided the 1,200 subjects into study and control groups. The first group received the circular hair loss drug, while the second group received a placebo.3
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Participants grew their hair again
In study AA-1, 22% of the 184 patients who received 2 milligrams of Olumiant and 35% of the 281 patients who received 4 milligrams of Olumiant achieved adequate scalp hair coverage, compared with 5% of the 189 patients who received placebo.
In study AA-2, 17% of the 156 patients who received 2 milligrams of Olumiant and 32% of the 234 patients who received 4 milligrams of Olumiant achieved adequate scalp hair coverage, compared with 3% of the 156 patients who received placebo.
In summary, in both clinical trials, one-third of the participants were satisfied with the new hair growth.
Drugs can relieve suffering
“Alopecia areata is a crazy journey filled with chaos, confusion and deep sadness for many sufferers,” explains study leader Dr. Brett King, a professor at Yale School of Medicine in a college statement4. “It’s great to have a drug that can help people get over it and get back to normal, be able to recognize and show themselves to others.”