Evidence Basedcheckmark

Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)

Tofacitinib, brand name Xeljanz by Pfizer, is a janus kinase inhibitor used as a non-FDA approved treatment of hair loss due to alopecia areata.

Tofacitinib

The Skinny


Average Recovery

0 days

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Pill

Surgical

No

Cost

$80 - $4700

The Specifics


What is tofacitinib?

Tofacitinib, marketed under the brand name Xeljanz, is an oral medication prescribed off-label for the treatment of alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis. Tofacitinib is not FDA-approved for treating hair loss, but it is FDA-approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Anatomy of the Hair Follicle

Hair Follicle Anatomy Illustration

Tofacitinib is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor or immunosuppressant that interferes with immune system cells attacking hair follicles and causing hair loss. Xeljanz is used in dermatology for hair regrowth as a specifically targeted treatment to the autoimmune disease alopecia areata which causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and other areas of the body.

What cosmetic concerns does tofacitinib treat?

  1. Hair Loss: Tofacitinib is a JAK inhibitor that interferes with autoimmune disease destruction of hair follicles to reverse hair loss, encourage hair regrowth (especially of scalp hair), and correct thinning hair, baldness, and a receding hairline.

Who is the ideal candidate for tofacitinib?

The ideal candidate for tofacitinib is experiencing hair loss caused by alopecia areata. Tofacitinib is not recommended for individuals with heart disease, liver disease, coagulopathies, or certain other chronic conditions.

What is the average recovery associated with tofacitinib?

There is no recovery time with tofacitinib use. Candidates should regularly follow up with their medical provider while using tofacitinib to determine efficacy, appropriateness of use, and possible discontinuation of therapy.

What are the potential side effects of tofacitinib?

Possible side effects of tofacitinib use include increased risk of infection, including serious infections, increased risk of malignancy, tachycardia, low blood counts, atopic dermatitis, and increase in cholesterol levels.

What can someone expect from the results of tofacitinib?

The results of tofacitinib will develop gradually over about three months with regular and consistent use. It is unclear how many months of treatment are needed to maintain results. There is a lack of clinical trials and case reports for dermatologists to determine the best use of tofacitinib in the treatment of hair loss from alopecia areata.

What is the average cost of tofacitinib?


The average cost of tofacitinib is $80 to $4,700, but may be dependent on insurance. The actual cost of the Tofacitinib will vary by location, healthcare provider, and individual candidate needs.

Pros

helps patients with severe hair losssignificant results

Cons

only for alopecia areatanot FDA approvedexpensivesevere side effects

Invasiveness Score

mildmoderatesevere
1
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5
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10

Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


Tofacitinib, also marketed as Xeljanz, can be used as an off-label treatment of male and female pattern hair loss. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after hair loss treatment with Tofacitinib.

The Takeaway


Tofacitinib, or Xeljanz, is a non-FDA approved treatment for hair loss secondary to alopecia areata. This Janus kinase inhibitor (JAK inhibitor) interferes with the immune system to prevent the autoimmune disease alopecia areata. Tofacitinib encourages hair regrowth and healthy hair follicles. Tofacitinib is FDA approved for rheumatoid arthritis.

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Source List

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AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association Hair Loss: Tips for Managing aad.org
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff Hair Loss Symptoms and Causes MayoClinic.org
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