Current and future pharmacotherapy for alopecia areata

Norma Elizabeth Vázquez-Herrera, Antonella Tosti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Alopecia areata is a genetic and inflammatory disease that causes cosmetic and emotional distress. Current treatments are mainly focused in controlling inflammation, thus allowing hair regrowth, but not preventing relapse. Recent advances in the knowledge of the pathogenesis at the immunological and genetic level have provided new therapeutic approaches for this condition.Areas covered: Literature regarding available and future treatment options for alopecia areata was reviewed. We describe the mechanisms involved in its physiopathology and discuss extensively existing evidence for current treatment and status of new drugs, which act on specific target molecules such as Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, abatacept, IL-2, Hu-Mik-β-1, anti-IFN-γ, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), stem cell educator therapy, ezetimibe/simvastatin and tianeptine.Expert opinion: Advances in the knowledge of the physiopathology of alopecia areata have led to the discovery of new therapeutic targets for this illness. Treatments that have been successful in case reports or small studies are JAK inhibitors, abatacept, IL-2, anti-IFN-γ, PRP, ezetimibe/simvastatin and tianeptine. Even though these drugs have different mechanisms of action, their success will direct future research on drugs that act on a specific target. More clinical trials are needed to establish the safety and efficacy of these drugs, however, new treatment strategies are underway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-431
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Opinion on Orphan Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Abatacept
  • Alopecia totalis
  • Alopecia universalis
  • IFN-γ inhibitors
  • IL-2
  • Janus kinase inhibitors
  • Methotrexate
  • Platelet-rich plasma
  • Ruxolitinib
  • Tofacitinib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Health Policy
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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