FDA approves Olumiant as first systemic therapy for baldness form 

The FDA has announced that it has approved Lilly’s Olumiant (baricitinib) oral tablets to treat adults with severe alopecia areata, a form of baldness resulting from the body attacking its hair follicles.

Manifesting as patchy baldness, alopecia areata affects more than 300,000 people in the U.S.

The incidence of alopecia areata is growing.

“Access to safe and effective treatment options is crucial for the significant number of Americans affected by severe alopecia,” said Dr. Kendall Marcus, director of the division of dermatology and dentistry in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a news release. “Today’s approval will help fulfill a significant unmet need for patients with severe alopecia areata.”

FDA first approved Olumiant in 2018 for rheumatoid arthritis. In 2022, the drug won an indication for COVID-19 in some hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

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FDA approves Olumiant for treating some hospitalized COVID-19 patients

[Olumiant image courtesy of Lilly]

The JAK inhibitor Olumiant (baricitinib) from Incyte (Nasdaq:INCY) and Lilly (NYSE: LLY) has scored FDA approval to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients who need help breathing.

In particular, the new indication covers adult patients needing supplemental oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

Olumiant first won FDA approval in 2018 for treating moderately-to-severely active rheumatoid arthritis.

Lilly began testing the drug in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in June 2020. It won emergency use authorization (EUA) for such patients in November of that same year when used with remdesivir.

FDA broadened the EUA in July 2021 to allow its use with or without remdesivir.

Olumiant is the first immunomodulatory therapy to score FDA approval for a COVID-19 indication.

The drug continues to be avail…

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