According to a new study, a drug that has received approval from the U.S Food and Drug Administration for treating rheumatoid arthritis may also be used to reverse the symptoms caused by a skin disease known as vitiligo.
The new study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine.
The researchers discovered that the arthritis drug may also be used for treating vitiligo after a patient’s skin condition improved following a series of tests.
Dr. Brett King, researcher at the Yale School of Medicine and the lead author of the study, explained that he came to this discovery after finding that Janus kinase inhibitors may also be used for treating the symptoms of hair loss caused by the condition known as alopecia areata.
According to the researchers, vitiligo and alopecia areata have similar risk factors genetically speaking. Scientists believe that because both conditions share an increased incidence of familial incidences, they could also have similar pathogenesis.
This led the researchers to believe that the drug tofacitinib (Xeljanz), which is a JAK inhibitor, may also be used for treating vitiligo
The study involved administering 5 mg of oral tofacitinib citrate to a 53-year-old patient who had vitiligo white pigmentation on her hands, face and body.
According to the doctors, the patient had developed the skin condition a year before the study began.
After two months of treatment, the white pigmentation started to disappear.
The researchers said that the white spots on the patient’s face and hands were almost gone, while the spots on her body decreased significantly after five months of treatment.
The scientists detailed the findings of their new study in the journal JAMA Dermatology.
Although the drug was tested on only one patient, the doctors believe that treatments using the arthritis drug would prove efficient for other vitiligo patients as well.
However, they said that further research is needed in order to determine the efficacy and safety of the medication.
Dr. King said that he is planning to use a similar drug known as ruxolitinib and test its efficacy in treating vitiligo.
Image Source: vitiligosolutions