Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) is known as a janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, which broke the internet back in 2016 when Dr. Brett King and Dr. Brittany Craiglow published a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, which showed that alopecia universalis was reversed completely with the use of Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate). At the time, it was seen as a miracle drug that could cure hair loss essentially by reversing it's effects entirely. Now almost three years later many are still questioning whether Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) is a hair loss cure. In this article, we will discuss Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) as a possible treatment for hair loss.
What is Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate)
Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) is a JAK inhibitor which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psioritic arthritis and ulcerative colitis. The medication is manfactured by the popular drug company pfizer, in 2012 the medication was approved by the FDA to treat rheumatoid arthritis and in 2018 it was approved to treat ulcerative colitis. Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) works by inhibiting the janus kinase 1 (JAK1) and janus kinase 3 (JAK3) enzyme. JAK inhibitors work by interfering with the JAK-STAT signaling pathway, which sends extracellular information in to cells, which influences DNA transcription.
How Will Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) Stop Hair Loss
There are several forms of hair loss, but the most common form of hair loss is called androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss). Unfortunately, Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) was only shown to reverse alopecia universalis, which is an autoimmune disorder. Genetic hair loss is genetic condition that is triggered by hormones, specifically dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair follicles have androgen receptors, DHT binds to the androgen receptors and slowly begins to shrink the hair follicle and shorten the life cycle until the hair follicle stops growing. This process is called miniaturization or thinning.
Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate)Side Effects
Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) was not approved by European regulatory agencies because of growing concerns over efficacy and safety. Animal studies showed carcinogenesis (formation of cancer), mutagenesis (genetic mutation) and decreased fertility. However, the biggest concern is the risk of death from severe infections, which prompted the FDA to have the makers of Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) put the warning label on the box. The drug is a powerful immunosuppressive, which can be very dangerous for anyone who has an infection whehter its viral, bacterial or fungal.
While the studie published in 2016 sounded promising, the truth is the drug has made little to no impact in the hair loss community. To date, the FDA has yet to approve it for any form of hair loss and the drug seems to have been forgotten. Currently, there are only two drugs that have been approved by the FDA to treat genetic hair loss. The drugs are Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride). However, the only proven method of regrowing hair on a bald scalp is through hair transplant surgery.
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