Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD: JAK Inhibitor Breakthroughs for Alopecia Areata

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In his latest HCPLive interview, regarding a presentation at Winter Clinical Miami, Chovatiya spoke about recent JAK inhibitor developments, alopecia areata, baricitinib, and more.

During an HCPLive interview, Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD, discussed his presentation on alopecia areata (AA) therapies from the 2023 Winter Clinical Miami dermatology conference.

Chovatiya works as assistant professor of dermatology and director at the Center for Eczema and Itch at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

His presentation from the Winter Clinical Miami conference was titled ‘New JAK Inhibitors for the Treatment of Alopecia Areata.’

Chovatiya began with a discussion of a case-based approach, sharing a recent case he had with a patient who had long-term AA which had been refractory to many treatments.

“Then we really sort of went into this step-by-step approach of how you might want to make sure that you are specifically talking to your patients with alopecia areata about what bothers them the most, really delving into those quality of life and psychosocial concerns, and then reviewing where we're at as far as treatment is now,” he explained.

Chovatiya then explored the major targeted JAK inhibitor treatments that are available for AA.

“So I reviewed some of the early data over the past decade, both from basic science mouse models and then actual case support that showed that the JAK-STAT pathway was an important mediator of some of the interferon gamma and IL15-related effects that we think about in that cross talk between CD8 T cells, and then epithelial bulbar cells in terms of the hair follicle,” he stated.

He continued to describe his presentation’s content, going into some examples of JAK inhibitors used for AA.

“I then went into a little more depth on some of the first published cases that showed that with existing JAK inhibitors, like tofacitinib and ruxolitinib, we were able to actually see hair regrowth very robustly in the clinic,” he explained. “Finally, I reviewed the clinical trial results from baricitinib, which is a JAK1/2 inhibitor that's currently approved for rheumatoid arthritis and severe alopecia areata.”

Chovatiya noted that he was able to describe the label, safety profile, and some of the latest data about the baricitinib.

He also described JAK inhibitor treatments for AA that may be appearing in the near future.

“So we talked about two of the JAK inhibitors that are probably going to be headed to a formulary near you,” he said. “One that already has a new drug application file, and this is ritlecitinib. This is a JAK 3 and TEC inhibitor.”

Chovatiya went a bit more into the data available on ritlecitinib, describing some important pieces of information on the treatment.

“What's really cool about this one is that, in addition to very promising data, its selectivity for JAK 3 over 1 and 2, perhaps is going to mitigate some of the safety concerns that we actually have when it comes to JAK inhibitors,” he said.

For more on Chovatiya’s Winter Clinical Miami presentation, view the interview above.