Topical Ruxolitinib Promotes Eyebrow Regrowth in Alopecia Universalis

More evidence the JAK inhibitors help alopecia areata


For the past 2 years, the excitement has mounting about the role of two medications – tofacitinib and ruxolitinib – as new treatments to add to the list for alopecia areata. All this came about when the news broke in the summer of 2014 that a young man with extensive alopecia areata grew back his hair following treatment with tofacitinib (Xeljanz). Then, just a few months later, another group of researchers reported patients who benefitted from the drug ruxolitinib (Jakavi, Jakavi).

New study shows benefit of topical ruxolitinib

In a brand new study, the medication ruxolitinib was found to trigger eyebrow regrowth in a woman with alopecia universalis. What was particularly interesting and novel about this report was that the investigators formulated the drug in a topical formulation - rather than as a tablet. Within 3 months of using the drug twice daily in the form of a cream, the eyebrows had regrown. The topical formulation of ruxolitinib was very well tolerated. With the exception of a very slight reduction in the patient’s white blood cell counts, there were no other reported negative side effects.


This is a very interesting study and gives hope that topical formulations of these new JAK inhibitors may indeed be on the horizon. Topical medications generally have fewer side effects and are better tolerated compared to oral medications.  I have no doubt we'll be hearing more about the role of  JAK inhibitors in a topical formulation.



Craiglow BG and colleagues. Topical Ruxolitinib for the Treatmentof Alopecia Universalis. JAMA Dermatology Published online December 9, 2015

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

Share This