Experience With Oral Tofacitinib in Two Adolescents and Seven Adults With Alopecia Areata

Dermatol Ther. 2019 Nov;32(6):e13118. doi: 10.1111/dth.13118. Epub 2019 Oct 21.


Alopecia areata (AA) is a common disease that results in nonscarring hair loss. Recently, tofacitinib (TOFA) has been a novel promising therapy for AA. The aim of this study is to determine the efficacy of oral TOFA treatment for alopecia areata (AA), and alopecia universalis (AU). Data of nine patients treated with oral TOFA with either AA or AU were retrospectively evaluated. Treatment outcome, disease severity, and therapeutic response were evaluated by Severity of Alopecia Tool (SALT) scores along with regular photographic surveillance done at third and sixth months. Treatment response was established on four categories: complete response (90% change in latest SALT score), intermediate response (51-90% change), moderate response (6-50% change), and nonresponse (<5% change). Nine patients aged 13-33 years were reviewed. Four patients (44.4%) did not respond to oral TOFA therapy, three patients (33.3%) were moderate responders, 1 (11.1%) was intermediate responder, and 1 (11.1%) was complete responder at the end of 6 months. The clinical response rate (those who achieved ≥5-100% change in SALT score) was 41.4% for all patients. Most of the patients who responded to TOFA had AA instead of AU. Adverse effects were mild. The clinical response rate of TOFA seems reasonable and TOFA was well-tolerated in this cohort. However, to truly evaluate efficacy, future studies are needed to assess the efficacy, adverse effects, and durability of treatment with TOFA in randomized controlled trials.

Keywords: alopecia; hair disorders; therapy-systemic.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Alopecia / pathology
  • Alopecia Areata / drug therapy*
  • Alopecia Areata / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Piperidines / administration & dosage*
  • Piperidines / adverse effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage*
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects
  • Pyrroles / administration & dosage*
  • Pyrroles / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Piperidines
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Pyrroles
  • tofacitinib

Supplementary concepts

  • Alopecia universalis