In pursuit of a treatment for alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss, scientists have found new success by repurposing a common arthritis drug. An impressive portion of trial participants were able to regrow their hair following regular doses of the medication, offering fresh hope for an approved treatment for the condition.
Alopecia areata is the result of the immune system attacking hair follicles, causing patchy hair loss to particular areas of the scalp, or sometimes the eyebrows and lashes. It is the type famously suffered by the actress Jada Pinkett Smith, but in fact around 200,000 new cases occur in the US every year, mostly affecting those under the age of 40. There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for the disorder.