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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved baricitinib oral tablets as the first systemic treatment for adult patients with severe alopecia areata.

The disorder that often appears as patchy baldness affects more than 300,000 people in the United States each year.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own hair follicles. Hair falls out often in clumps. Baricitinib (Olumiant) is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, which blocks the activity of one or more enzymes, interfering with the pathway that leads to inflammation.

Baricitinib was first approved in 2018 and is indicated for treating moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, concerta 12 uur and for the treatment of COVID-19 in certain hospitalized adults.

“Access to safe and effective treatment options is crucial for the significant number of Americans affected by severe alopecia,” Kendall Marcus, MD, director of the Division of Dermatology and Dentistry in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement announcing the approval. “Today’s approval will help fulfill a significant unmet need for patients with severe alopecia areata.”

This story is in progress and will be updated.

Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune, Science News, and, and was an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick

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