Eczema drug restores alopecia patient's hair growth
UPI Health News (Business)
A drug approved to treat moderate to severe eczema significantly restored hair growth in a young patient with alopecia -- the first known case of the link.
About 80 million men and women in
"We were quite surprised since this patient hadn't grown scalp hair since the age of 2, and other treatments that can help with hair loss did not in her case," senior author Dr.
The patient also had experienced extensive, treatment-resistant eczema since the age of 7 months, researchers said.
She previously was treated with prednisone and methotrexate that led to limited improvement in her eczema, but no hair regrowth. She discontinued taking the drugs, which can suppress the overactive immune system.
After six weeks of treatment, she not only had significant improvement in eczema symptoms, but noticed that fine light hairs called vellus hairs were appearing on her scalp.
Because of a change in her insurance coverage, she discontinued dupilumab for a two-month period, during which she noticed shedding of the recently regrown hair. After she resumed treatment last April, the hair growth resumed and has continued.
The drug costs about
Senna said dupilumab's mechanism targeting a key immune system pathway known to be overactive in eczema could explain its work against alopecia. She noted recent studies have suggested other elements of the same pathway may induce autoimmune hair loss.
"Right now, it's hard to know whether dupilumab could induce hair growth in other alopecia patients, but I suspect it may be helpful in patients with extensive active eczema and active alopecia areata," she said.
Senna has submitted a proposal for a clinical trial using dupilumab in order to further investigate its hair regrowth potential.