US approves first pill to treat alopecia

The approval for use against alopecia was based on the results of two randomized, controlled clinical trials involving a total of 1,200 adults with severe alopecia.

Each trial divided the participants into three groups: a placebo group, a group that received a 2 mg dose every day, and a group that received a 4 mg dose every day.

After 36 weeks, nearly 40 percent of those who received the higher dose grew back 80 percent of their scalp hair, compared with about 23 percent of the lower dose group and five percent of the placebo group.

About 45 percent of people in the higher-dose group also saw significant regrowth of eyebrows and eyelashes.

The most common side effects were upper respiratory tract infections, headache, acne, high cholesterol, and elevations in an enzyme called creatine phosphokinase.

Previous treatments for alopecia have included topical or oral drugs, but these were considered experimental and none were approved.

Baricitinib was previously approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the license was extended to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

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