Baricitinib Helps You Say Goodbye To Hair Loss

Baricitinib Helps You Say Goodbye To Hair Loss

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the drug baricitinib (Olumiant) for the treatment of severe alopecia areata (AA), and studies have found that hair regrowth begins about 8 to 12 weeks after starting baricitinib and continues to improve.

How does baricitinib work?

Hair loss in alopecia areata involves an attack on hair follicles by the immune system, disrupting the hair growth cycle. Signaling molecules called cytokines cause this attack by utilizing pathways that utilize members of the Janus kinase (JAK) family of protein messengers in cells. Small molecules called JAK inhibitors can block the activity of immune signaling pathways involved in the attack on hair follicles in AA. Baricitinib is a JAK inhibitor. By blocking JAK signaling, fewer cytokines are produced, resulting in less inflammation, allowing hair to regrow.

How is baricitinib taken?

Baricitinib is an oral medication that is taken once daily. For most patients, the recommended dose is 2 mg per day, but some patients may need to take 4 mg per day, including those with more severe scalp hair loss. Baricitinib is available in 4 mg and 2 mg tablets and should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

How effective is baricitinib for alopecia areata?

Two Phase 3 clinical trials evaluated the efficacy and safety of baricitinib in 1,200 adults with severe AA. Both studies assessed hair regrowth after 36 weeks. Overall, a significantly greater proportion of study participants with severe AA who took baricitinib achieved 80% or greater scalp coverage compared to placebo.

What are the most common side effects of baricitinib?

In the alopecia areata clinical trials, the most common side effects reported (≥1%) were upper respiratory tract infection (cold or sinus infection), headache, acne, increased cholesterol levels (hyperlipidemia), increased muscle enzyme levels, urinary tract infection, increased liver enzyme levels, inflammation of hair follicles (folliculitis), tiredness, lower respiratory tract infection, nausea, genital yeast infection, low red blood cell count (anemia), low white blood cell count (neutropenia), stomach (abdominal) pain, shingles (herpes zoster), and weight gain.

How long will I need to take baricitinib?

Take baricitinib as prescribed by your doctor. Baricitinib is a treatment for alopecia areata, not a cure. It helps treat the symptoms of the disease. If you stop taking the medication, symptoms may return.

How much does Baricitinib cost? Is Baricitinib covered by insurance?

The cost of Baricitinib depends largely on your insurance plan. Individual insurance plans vary in coverage and copayments. Therefore, you may pay a different price than someone else for the same medication, depending on your insurance.

Eli Lilly has launched a program called Olumiant Together to help patients work with their doctors, insurance companies, and specialty pharmacies to get Baricitinib.