Tofacitinib for children & teens with Alopecia Areata
Some of the most difficult forms of alopecia areata to treat are those occurring in children.
Treatments used for children with alopecia areata are typically similar to those used in adults with even more attention and concern placed on safety.
Recently, we have seen adults with alopecia areata get improvement with tofacitinib (also marketed under the name Xeljanz)
The question then arises: Would tofacitinib help children?
A recent study now proves that it does. Craiglow and colleagues from Yale published a study looking at 13 children age 12-18 with alopecia areata. 9 of them (69%) improved confirming that this drug is beneficial in children.
The next question that is raised is what age to we draw the cut off and tell parents that their children they are too young for this medication. If 12 years old is acceptable, what about an 10 year old with alopecia areata? What about a 6 year old? What about a 2 year old? I think it's clear that most would agree some cut off exists, but what is it? That is where careful discussion with parents are so important. There is no universal right or wrong answer. There is no universal age cut off. For some the answer is no and for others it may be yes.
Craiglow BG, et al. Tofacitinib for the treatment of alopecia areata and variants in adolescents.J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Nov 2
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