New Frontiers in Drug Treatments
Our skin is our largest organ, and it takes a lot. It is exposed to the elements, to sun and snow. It gets scuffed up, chaffed, and scratched, in the day-to-day. Our skin is also connected to our appearance, which often affects our self-esteem. How we look, and how we feel, are intimately related. Auto-Inflammatory syndromes often damage the epidermis, and the effects on the appearance and one’s personal life are profound.
Luckily, medical technology is a bustling field, pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Millions of dollars, the brightest minds the medical world has to offer, and countless man hours go into managing these diseases. New medications are being developed to find treatments, and cures, and to improve patients’ quality of life.
Let’s explore two anti-autoimmune disorder drugs that are new in the market, freshly approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These new treatments are already making big waves. They are offering hope to people who previously couldn’t find effective treatments and were forced to accept their chronic conditions, and the physical effects they had on their skin.
While balding and hair loss can sometimes be normal, in the cases of hormonal changes, aging, and genetics, Alopecia Areata (AA) is another story altogether. “Areata” means spot, and is a condition where people lose clumps of hair at a time. It is often very traumatic for those who suffer from it, and until now, there haven’t been many effective treatments.
Spot balding happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, after taking them for foreign bodies. Olumiant is a prescription medicine that is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor. JAKs are intracellular enzymes transmitting signals from cytokines binding to receptors on the surface of cells, which signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs). This in turn, leads to inflammatory cellular responses and initiated inflammation. By inhibiting JAKs, Olumiant halts the inflammatory response, allowing your body to regrow hair follicles.
Baricitinib is the first drug of its kind to regulate the JAK and treat spot balding. It’s been approved by the FDA for adult patients who have lost more than 50% of their scalp coverage, and you should be monitoring your treatment with the help of a licensed physician to ensure proper care and safety. If spot baldness is something you are suffering from, book an appointment with Adult and Pediatric Dermatology today to discuss your options.
Olumiant is also used to treat severe active rheumatoid arthritis for patients that have been treated with 1 or more medicines called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, but without effective treatment or not well tolerated.
Vitiligo is an incredibly challenging dermatological condition. This chronic autoimmune disorder causes spots or patches of skin to lose pigment. When melanocytes, the cells in the skin that are responsible for making pigment, are attacked and destroyed by one’s own immune system, causing the skin to turn a milky-white color. The loss of pigmentation can happen slowly or quickly. These areas without pigmentation are at a higher risk for sunburn and developing melanomas. Beyond this and certain other minor health complications, the social implications are huge. Feelings of discomfort and dysmorphia are common. Until very recently, vitiligo was thought to be untreatable and irreversible.
Not so anymore! Opzelura is the first medication of its class to be approved for nonsegmental vitiligo. Applied as a topical cream, it affects the Janus Kinase enzyme (JAK) in a similar way to Olumiant. This helps reduce damage to melanocytes. Opzelura has had fantastic clinical success, which has only continued with its rollout into the drug market.
Opzelura has been approved for 12-year-olds and above to treat nonsegmental vitiligo. It can slow or halt the spread of vitiligo, and even reverse some of the damage. If vitiligo is something you struggle with, or something you’ve begun to notice developing, don’t wait to book your dermatology appointment.
Treating Autoinflammatory Diseases
For over 30 years Dr. David Kaplan has been and continues to be at the cutting edge of medical dermatology. With new treatments for long-existing conditions, Dr. Kaplan and the staff at APDKC deliver excellent patient care for ailments previously thought untreatable and incurable. If you’re seeing early signs of inflammation or fear you may be developing an autoinflammatory disorder, don’t hesitate to seek dermatological care. The best medical care is early and proactive care.
Call today to set up your consultation and get top-of-the-line medical care from professionals who care.