The slap in the face of Hollywood star Will Smith at the Oscars brought the hair loss disease of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith into focus – now the first systemic alopecia areata drug has been approved in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Eli Lilly’s Olumiant.
It is the first ever in the United States for a hair loss drug that acts on the whole body. The condition, which often manifests as patchy baldness, affects more than 300,000 people in the United States each year, the FDA said in its statement.
Tablets tested in two studies
The now-approved tablets have been tested for more than six months in two studies involving patients who have lost at least 50 percent of their hair, the FDA wrote. The measure of the drug’s effectiveness was the number of patients who had regained at least 80% hair coverage in the 36th week.
At this year’s Oscars in late March, comedian Chris Rock gagged about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett, alluding to her shaved head. She rolled her eyes at the joke: the actress had often spoken openly about her pathological hair loss.
Smith, however, surprisingly ran upstage, gave Rock a loud slap in the face, and returned to his seat. He then called twice in Rock’s direction: “Keep my wife’s name out of your damn mouth!” The Academy of Cinema has banned him from events for ten years.
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