A drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was effective in patients with moderate to severe eczema, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine. Study findings are published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology.

Study authors hypothesized that tofacitinib citrate, a janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, could interrupt the immune response that causes eczema. Previous studies had shown that tofacitinib citrate reversed two skin conditions: vitiligo and alopecia areata.

In the study, treatment with tofacitinib led to significant improvement in six patients with moderate to severe eczema who were unsuccessful with previous conventional therapies. Patients saw reductions in erythema, edema/papulation, lichenification, excoriation, as well as improved sleep during the treatment. The scoring of the atopic dermatitis index (AD) decreased from 36.5 to 12.2 (P<0.05) during 8–29 weeks of treatment.

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Study findings suggest tofacitinib may be beneficial for the treatment of eczema. More research is needed to assess the drug’s long-term efficacy and safety in patients with eczema.

For more information visit Yale.edu.