November 01, 2022

Oral Medication for Hair Loss

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Finally, there could be some tangible help for men and women who deal with hair loss. This includes male- or female-pattern baldness and those suffering from the effects of chemotherapy.

In Summer 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Olumiant (drug name baricitinib) as the first oral medication to treat alopecia, which is an umbrella term for conditions that cause hair loss.

CHC has details on the medication, what results can be expected, and any potential side effects that it may bring.

Medication Targets Alopecia Areata

Severe alopecia areata is a disorder that generally appears as patchy baldness and can affect men and women of all ages, even children. More than 300,000 people will now be able to have the first systemic treatment (meaning it treats the entire body instead of a specific location) for hair loss.

It works by blocking the activity of specific enzymes that cause the body to attack the hair follicles. In clinical trials, around 35% of people who took 4 milligrams of the drug had a good amount of hair covering their scalp, compared to 17% taking 2 milligrams and 4% taking a placebo.

What Are the Side Effects?

There are several side effects that have been reported for Olumiant, including some that can be bothersome. Some are upper respiratory tract infections, headache, acne, high cholesterol, urinary tract infections, liver enzyme elevations, fatigue, nausea, anemia, shingles, and weight increase.

Olumiant also shouldn’t be used with other JAK inhibitors, cyclosporine, or other strong immunosuppressants, so talk to your doctor about whether this drug could be right for you to treat hair loss.

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