Book a FREE consultation  
For a free consultation or assistance, please call 020 7730 6666

Browse by Category

Ruxolitinib: The Pill That Could Cure Alopecia Areata

Scientists in America have developed a pill that may cure hair loss from alopecia areata.

Identifying the cells that destroy hair follicles

Columbia University Medical Centre Successfully Trials Drug Ruxolitinib as Cure for Alopecia AreataBy identifying exactly which cells destroyed hair follicles – T-cell immune cells – scientists at the Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, were then able to test the efficacy of a range of treatments. Trials tested several drugs known to stop the destruction of these cells in mice, and all resulted in the hair growing back.

One of these drugs was ruxolitinib, which goes by the brand name of Jakafi in the US, usually prescribed to treat intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis – a life-threatening bone marrow problem – it is also used in treating cancers and other inflammatory diseases. As with Xeljanz, the rheumatoid arthritis drug recently trialled for the treatment of Alopecia Universalis, ruxolitinib is a Janus kinase inhibitor, also known as a JAK inhibitor.

Trialling ruxolitinib on male alopecia sufferers

Researchers tested the FDA-approved drug, ruxolitinib on three male alopecia areata sufferers who were almost completely bald, by giving them the twice-daily pill to take.  Within four to five months, all three of the men had regrown a full head of hair. Results for one of the men studied are pictured here with considerable regrowth visible by the third month of taking the drug, and a full coverage presenting just a month later.

Pictured right: Top – Seen before the ruxolitinib drug treatment trial, the patient had lost almost all his hair to severe alopecia. Middle – By month 3 of the trial, the patient shows considerable regrowth. Bottom – After 4 months of taking ruxolitinib twice per day, the patient has a full head of hair again.

Side effects of ruxolitinib

Side effects in alopecia areata sufferers are as yet unknown, however, the side effects commonly associated with ruxolitinib when taken for myelofibrosis conditions range from black, tarry stools and bladder pain, to bleeding gums, blood in the urine or stools, and large, flat, blue or purplish patches in the skin.

Further tests are now due to be carried out in the hope that ruxolitinib could become a standard treatment for alopecia in the future. Whilst ruxolitinib could potentially successfully treat alopecia areata, this does not mean it could also cure other hair loss conditions, such as male pattern baldness.

Columbia’s medical team discuss findings

Dr Raphael Clynes of Columbia University, who took part in the study, said: ‘We’ve only begun testing the drug in patients, but if the drug continues to be successful and safe, it will have a dramatic positive impact on the lives of people with this disease.’

Professor Angela Christiano, another of the study’s authors added: ‘Patients with alopecia areata are suffering profoundly, and these findings mark a significant step forward for them. The team is fully committed to advancing new therapies for patients with a vast unmet need.’

As a practising dermatologist at Columbia University, Professor David Bickers has treated many patients with alopecia. He said of the breakthrough: ‘There are few tools in the arsenal for the treatment of alopecia areata that have any demonstrated efficacy. This is a major step forward in improving the standard of care for patients suffering from this devastating disease.’

Funmi Lampejo, Pharmacy Manager at The Belgravia Centre advised, ‘Ruxolitinib belongs to the same class of drugs, (JAK-inhibitors) as another drug which was recently found to be effective in some cases of Alopecia Universalis, tofacitinib. 

Both drugs are licensed by the FDA for conditions ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to myelofibrosis but only ruxolitinib is licensed in Europe at the moment. Ruxolitinib has a greater range of licensed applications compared to tofacitinib.

Neither drug is licensed for the treatment of alopecia although both have showed promising results in treating alopecia of suspected autoimmune origin. It is doubtful that they will be effective in treating androgenetic alopecia but it’s early days yet. Whether either drug is used to treat Alopecia Areata or Universalis will depend on its efficacy in clinical trials for these conditions, and the benefit-risk ratio eg considering effectiveness balanced against severity and incidence of adverse effects.

It would be wonderful if a new treatment could be found for these conditions which can be very distressing and debilitating for patients‘.

Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic

The Belgravia Centre

Visit our photographic Hair Loss Success Stories gallery to browse our constantly updated collection of over 1,000 male and female patients’ progress images, alongside their feedback. If you are worried about hair loss and would like to speak to one of our experts, call us now on 020 7730 6666 or send us a message to book your free, discreet one-on-one consultation at either of our Central London clinics. Alternatively, if you are unable to visit us, you can complete our Online Consultation Form instead.

Related Stories


8th December, 2015 at 2:55 pm

vishwanath tandel

i want to regain my hair as i have lost fifty percent hair.can i start treatment by taking ruxolitinib pill.i am 60 year old. please advice.

8th December, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Vishwanath, You would need to contact your doctor or the University running the clinical trials if you would like to take part as this is a report on the on-going studies into ruxolitinib. We are not involved in this research and this is still in its clinical trial phase - it has not yet been proven safe and effective over the long-term. The study mentioned here has completed, however others are on-going so if you are based in the USA, we recommend you contact Columbia University's alopecia research facility. If we have any updates on the study results or availability of this drug in relation to alopecia areata conditions, we will report it on our blog so do check back for further information.

7th March, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Kerry Fletcher

Hello, my 12 year old son was diagnosed with AA when he was 2. What is the timeframe for when these trials will be complete and a possible licensing of this drug to treat AA please?

8th March, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Kerry, No timeline has been announced yet as there is still a lot of testing to be done to confirm its safety, tolerability and efficacy. The best thing to do would be to contact the University running the trial directly. We will also post any updates here on our blog as soon as we get them.

8th April, 2016 at 2:31 pm


hi how can i get this drug in my country in asia in iran really i need your help

12th April, 2016 at 11:29 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Maria, Ruxolitinib is not currently available as a treatment for alopecia areata as it is still in clinical trials.

8th June, 2016 at 6:06 am


Hi, Could you provide the contact details please, for direct communications?

8th June, 2016 at 9:29 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Sania, We cannot give out these details, however, if you contact Columbia University they will be able to put you in touch.

4th September, 2016 at 7:48 am


hi.with luck. good help me. we are waiting for you.thank you all. mehri for iran

11th September, 2016 at 8:50 pm

Hamed mohammadi

I hope this discovery opens a new dooe to bring back hope to the heart of the patients like me✌✌

24th September, 2016 at 9:59 pm

Randall Mitchell

Hi, my daughter has Alopecia Aareata and we have been getting it treated over the years to a local dermatologist in Tampa Florida who's been doing a great job but she remains to be on prednisone steroids as Treatment, it started at the age of 3years old she is now 12 years of age, how do we get involved with this new research for Treatment? With (Ruxolitinib)

26th September, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Scott Bysouth

Hi When do you think ruxolitinib will be available i have had alopicia for 25 years now since i was 5 years old.

26th September, 2016 at 8:25 pm


Amazing. When it will be ready in the market? I was longing for this medicine.. kindly let me know the place where i will get this drug?

27th September, 2016 at 4:34 pm


I know it's still in the trial period right now, unsure of any known effects this drug could cause. But if I could grow my hair back? That would be a dream come true. I have had alopecia universalis since I was in the 4th grade, and any chance of having hair again, even if it is a small pixie cut, I would be forever thankful.

3rd October, 2016 at 12:14 pm


First of all good luck and lets hope for the best but still there alot of thing that they are still undiscoverd yet...

4th October, 2016 at 11:00 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Randall, you would need to contact the university which is carrying out these studies although they are not currently recruiting for any more trial participants.

4th October, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Frank, this is only at the small-scale clinical trial stage. It has many more tests and studies yet to be done before a release as a treatment for alopecia areata could even be considered. The earliest estimate, should this pass the necessary larger scale trials, is 2020.

4th October, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Scott. The earliest estimate is currently 2020.

30th October, 2016 at 3:33 am


i am 20 year old.Is that drug available in India? I need that drug badly.i am loosing my hairs day by day.

31st October, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Neha, no this drug is not available for autoimmune alopecia anywhere yet. It is only in the early stages of clinical trials so is unlikely to be released for a number of years yet, although only once it has successfully passed the necessary safety and efficacy tests. As you are based in India we recommend you speak to a local specialist about options available to you now.

20th January, 2017 at 8:32 pm

I Vaughan

Hi, Are you able to give me any indication whether trials are likely to take place in the U.K. at any time? My son started with Alopecia at age 11. He is 18 now and the condition has blighted his childhood. If there are trials planned in the U.K. he would jump at the chance to participate. Many thanks.

23rd January, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi there, unfortunately as we are not involved in these trials we cannot give you a definitive answer. However, currently these trials do only appear to be taking place in the USA according to the information released by researchers. As the front running research teams on this are based at American universities it is unlikely they would consider UK trials at least for the near future. Sorry not to have better news for you on this but we will monitor progress and report on any UK trials we find out about.

29th March, 2017 at 3:36 am

Mark anthony

hi i had an alopecia for 6 months now , if theres a trial going on i will volunteer for sure

29th March, 2017 at 11:48 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Mark, we are not involved in these trials so you would need to contact the universities involved directly.

14th June, 2017 at 12:47 am

Moiz nawaz

Dear sir, I have patchy aloepecia areata and also eyebrows loss and no beard and mustache at the age of 20 . So please tell me that when will ruxolitnib be available in market or what is the alternate of this medicine?

19th June, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Moiz. Ruxolitinib is still undergoing clinical trials but is expected to be ready to release in around 2020/2021 if everything goes to plan. There are Alopecia Areata treatment options available now that have produced signficant regrowth results in other Belgravia clients, but this approach is only suited to hair loss on the scalp - we do not treat facial hair loss such as the beard, eyebrows or eyelashes.

9th July, 2017 at 7:12 am


Hi I'm affected by alopecia from 12 now my age is 20 still it's with me .. it will cure or what? I'm now taken the oil mx5 it was prescribed by my dermatologist .. ruxolitinib was secured or what? And it was proven ? And how to get that ruxolitinib ?

10th July, 2017 at 10:43 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Raja, you can find out more about the latest developments regarding ruxolitinib on our hair loss blog.

10th July, 2017 at 1:44 pm


Hi I m 37 and since one year I m having alopecia it started with small patch and now I m loosing all my hair for the head to toe. I m getting it back but it is again falling does this ruxolitinib can be helpful for me in future does it has any hope to cure alopecia totalis

10th July, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Urvi. Until the drug has successfully completed all clinical trials we cannot tell you if it will be effective. You can find the latest details on our hair loss blog, including details of the estimated ruxolitinib release date.

18th July, 2017 at 9:52 pm

Jeffrey Houston

Hello Sarah, I was reading the comments about the new drug, I was wondering what are the side effects that has the pill failing, major headaches bloody nose, heart failure, just asking because everyone else wants the cure but dont know what the side affect could be,

19th July, 2017 at 11:38 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jeffrey, we do not yet know if the drug will be released as a pill or a topical formula. A topical cream or lotion seems most likely at present. Once the most effective formulation with the least and/or most tolerable side effects has been decided upon during clinical trials, it will be put forward for approval by the necessary medical bodies, at which point details of the potential side effects should be released. The reason for developing a topical formula was to help reduce the side effect profile of the drug. You can find details of the side effects of Ruxolitinib in its current role as an oral treatment for conditions including Myelofibrosis, can be found via the prescribing information leaflet on the Jakafi (brand name, also known as Jakavi) website.

21st September, 2017 at 5:13 pm


Hi. My daughter is 4 years old ..she has lost all her hair in month of May that is 4 months back. Can you please suggest if I can give her ruxolitinib and what should be the dosage.

21st September, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jasleen, you should consult your doctor about this - ruxolitinib is not yet confirmed as safe and effective for the treatment of hair loss and certainly cannot be given to children without being prescribed by a physician. Some cases of alopecia areata clear up naturally within up to 12 months so we highly recommend speaking to your doctor to get advice on suitable treatments that may be suitable for someone of her age.

10th October, 2017 at 5:51 pm


Hi Would anyone be interested in signing up to a website. Almost like a “please speed up the release date” I can get a professional website made and contact Columbia university in a hope to help them speed up trials? Please comment below and if there are many people asking I can get the website set up.

11th October, 2017 at 11:20 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Matt - clinical trials cannot be sped up. They are working as hard and as fast as they can but this is a medicine they are developing so there are certain time periods over which it needs to be studied to ensure it is safe for human use, as well as effective. We don't think a website would be particularly helpful in this regard but the release date is currently estimated as 2020/2021, assuming all test results go as planned and necessary MHRA and FDA approval is granted - which is quick for a new drug of this type - so it's not that long to wait!

31st December, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Sandhya Munjampally

Hi , if this medication approved and will be available from 2020/2021. Will this medication remove this disease completely

2nd January, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Sandhya, no - it is likely to be a treatment rather than a cure so on-going use is expected in order to manage the autoimmune hair loss disorder, rather than the medication being able to cure it completely.

5th January, 2018 at 4:17 am

Sandhya Munjampally

This medication only helps in controling and getting hair growth fully in case of Alopecia Areata but not cure completely. More likely this medication helps in reducing the occurrences of Areata patches of hair loss ?

5th January, 2018 at 10:30 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Sandhya, the medication appears to regrow hair in cases of Alopecia Areata, Totalis and Universalis and is currently being classed as a treatment - not a cure. However it is still in clinical trial stage so we will know more once it gets closer to a potential release stage, assuming it successfully obtains the relevant clearances from medical regulatory boards such as the MHRA and FDA.

13th May, 2018 at 7:31 pm

Holly Harriet Hyams

Hello, do you know if doctors in the UK are allowed to prescribe this drug for alepicia purposes? Also what is the best drug that you can recommend which is available at the moment. Many Thanks

14th May, 2018 at 10:25 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Holly, this drug is still being tested and is in the latter stages of clinical trials but is not available in any country to be prescribed outside of these clinical trials for the purposes of treating any form of alopecia areata or other hair loss conditions. It is currently expected that it may be available for prescription from 2021, assuming all clinical trials happening at the moment go to plan and the relevant MHRA and FDA licences and approvals are granted. At present there are no truly effective hair loss solutions for the more severe forms Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis - steroid creams and injections are often used in hospitals but the success rate is low. However, for the scalp-only phenotype Alopecia Areata treatment using a topical drug has produced many significant responses for Belgravia patients. You can find out more here.

Comment on this article

* required field

Will not be published

Online Consultation

Submit an instant online consultation so that one of Belgravia’s hair loss specialists can diagnose your condition and recommend an effective course of treatment, wherever you live.