A man named Kyle Rhodes had been wishing to grow a beard or mullet or to have the same haircut as George Clooney’s. However, none of these became possible since he had a condition called alopecia areata since the age of 2. It started with his hair falling slowly until he became bald at the age of 18. This was followed by his body hair disappearing gradually.
Dr King, his dermatologist from Yale University, thought that since the said condition originated from an autoimmune disease, why not consider trying meds used for autoimmune disorders? So a drug named Xeljanz, a medicine prescribed for arthritis, was given to him. After eight months, this bald man fortunately grew a full head of hair. Not only the hair on his head but also his eyebrows, eyelashes, and the hair all over his body came back. His doctor was very surprised with what happened and was very happy for him.
Because of the positive result on Rhodes, doctors have found hope in treating millions of people inflicted with alopecia areata. However, there are doctors, like Dr George Cotsarelis, who are reluctant of using the drug for treating the disorder. Some of the reasons are that there have been cases where patients who have taken Xeljanz have died of tuberculosis and that risk of developing cancer is high for these patients. This information was taken from the website of the drug manufacturer itself.
Dr Cotsarelis, who is the chairman of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, is worried about the drug’s bad side effects and believes that a patient will really take a great risk in using this medicine.
But Dr King is looking forward to producing a cream version of the medicine to eliminate the risk of patients developing nasty side effects. But the medication is believed to be limited only to baldness caused by autoimmune disorders and does not include baldness caused by other factors. However, he considers conducting an extensive research on it and discovering its potential to cure such illness.
Until now, it cannot be said whether a patient needs to take the drug for the rest of his life in order to maintain the growth of hair. According to Rhodes, the drug didn’t cause him any side effects and he is willing to continue taking the medicine without second thought as he has already been using other drugs known to be dangerous in order to treat his illness.
Xeljanz costs $25,000 a year, but it would be less this amount if insurance is applied. Fortunately, Pfizer has given Rhodes a discount and agreed to share $600 per month so he can continue taking the pill.