Arthritis Drug Used to Treat Skin Conditions



While many estheticians have little trouble helping patients to moisturize dry skin and treat acne, more difficult disorders can often pose a serious problem to skin care specialists. Eczema, vitiligo, alopecia, and other serious skin diseases, all come with a host of issues for dermatologists to diagnose and estheticians to help care for.

Eczema alone is usually accompanied by thickened red skin that is painful enough to affect sleep. Many of the currently available techniques, creams, and medicines fail to relieve symptoms in severe cases.

However, a recent study at the Yale School of Medicine might potentially hold the key to reversing Eczema symptoms, as well as vitiligo and alopecia. These conditions are believed to be caused largely by immune responses. Brett King, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Yale, hypothesized that drugs that limit immune responses like rheumatoid arthritis medication might stop the symptoms that cause eczema.

6 patients, all with moderate to severe eczema who had tried other therapies without success, were given tofacitinib citrate, a rheumatoid arthritis medication. All 6 patients reported dramatic improvement in itch and improved sleep as well as a reduction in swelling and itching. Most exciting of all, King and fellow dermatologist Brittany Craiglow had previously shown that tofacitinib citrate can regrow hair in patients experiencing hair loss from alopecia. They also showed in the same study with one vitiligo sufferer that tofacitinib citrate was successfully used to treat symptoms.

While this study in no way means that dermatologists can begin prescribing the medication to treat patients with severe symptoms, it does point to potentially exciting new trends in research that could lead to new approved medications and permanent treatments. Skin condition sufferers the world over will hopefully find relief in King’s future research and the research of his colleagues at the Yale School of Medicine.

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