Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

Drug Restores Hair in Some With Alopecia: FAQ


Q. When the people in the study stopped taking ruxolitinib, did their hair fall out again?

A. Scientists are continuing to check their hair growth every couple of months. It’s plausible that the drug could have a permanent effect, Clynes says. On the other hand, the drug might have only put the disease into remission, so it could eventually come back and cause hair loss.

Q. Wouldn’t it make more sense to rub the drug on the skin where you’d like to grow hair, rather than swallowing it in a pill?

A. “It would be wonderful to have both an oral and a topical” version of a drug that could cause hair to regrow in alopecia patients, Clynes says. But no topical form of ruxolitinib or tofacitinib has been approved for human use, so he and Christiano mixed up their own with ingredients from China and tested them on the mice, with excellent results.

Q. Since ruxolitinib is already on the market to treat that bone marrow cancer, couldn’t people with alopecia ask their doctor for a prescription?

A. Once the FDA approves a drug to treat one condition, doctors are free to prescribe for others, a practice called “off-label” use. But insurers generally cover medications only for their approved uses.

Jakafi, the brand name for ruxolitinib, costs $8,753 for a month’s supply, which amounts to more than $100,000 a year, says Pamela Murphy. She's vice president for investor relations and corporate communications at Incyte, the Wilmington, DE, company that markets the drug.

“I think that is a pretty high price point,” Clynes says. “Our hope is a year of therapy wouldn’t be required.” If a wealthy person with alopecia wanted to try the drug, he says, “I would not personally be uncomfortable prescribing the medicine if the patient was otherwise healthy and young and had an expected low-level risk of complications.”

Q. What’s the next step?

A. Clynes and Christiano are seeking funding to conduct a randomized trial comparing a JAK inhibitor -- besides ruxolitinib and tofacitinib -- with an inactive pill in people with alopecia.

Today on WebMD

Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
itchy skin
shingles rash on skin
woman with skin tag
Woman washing face
woman washing her hair in sink
close up of womans bare neck
woman with face cream