Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) for Alopecia Areata

Tofacitinib: Additional benefits for alopecia areata

Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) is an oral medication that is FDA approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Recent studies in the past 2 years have shown a benefit for some patients with alopecia areata.   Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition, that affects all ages and all people across the world. In fact, about 2 % of the world's population is affected by alopecia areata. Patients often lose hairs in circular patches but may lose all the hair on the body as well. I’ve been using Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) in my practice for a while now.  It doesn’t help everyone but does help a proportion of patients.

I was encouraged too by a recent study showing benefit not only for hair loss, but also for the nail problems that frequently accompany this condition.  A study in the journal JAMA Dermatology reported 3 patients with alopecia universalis (AU) whose nail abnormalities improved with treatment with Tofacitinib. Interestingly, 2 of these 3 patients had an improvement in hair growth as well.

Tofacitinib is proving to have many potential benefits for patients with alopecia areata.


Dhayalan and King. Tofacitinib Citrate for the Treatment of Nail Dystrophy Associated With Alopecia Universalis. JAMA Dermatology. 


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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