Rheumatoid Arthritic Drug – A New Found Cure for Vitiligo


A rheumatoid arthritis FDA-approved drug was found to help individuals suffering from vitiligo.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that manifests on the skin of an affected person. Blotches in different sizes are seen on the skin because the person loses his skin pigments. It can also affect the other body parts like the eyes, the inside of the mouth and the hair. Melanin determines the colors of our skin, eyes and hair. When melanocytes, the cells responsible for melanin production stop functioning, vitiligo arises.

Even if vitiligo is not a life-threatening condition, it causes emotional trauma to the affected individual. The late Michael Jackson, in spite of being a very popular star, suffered from this defacing skin condition.

At present, there is no available drug to treat this skin problem. Although the goal of other treatment options like light therapy and steroids is to control vitiligo, it is more often not successful.

A recent study revealed that vitiligo can be cured by Tofacitinib, an FDA-approved drug for rheumatoid arthritis. The study conducted by Brett King, a dermatology professor at the School of Medicine, Yale University and his associates, offers a very promising result in fighting this skin problem.

Brent and his group tested the rheumatoid arthritis drug to a 53-year old female patient who has severe vitiligo for over a year. The skin pigmentation of the patient started to appear after two months. The white spots in the patient’s face and hands, were almost gone in five months. The patient did not shown any side effects.

Tofacitinib comes from the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors family of drugs. It is given to patients suffering from moderate to severe inflammatory disorder, known as rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the linings of your joints.

King said that he and his group are confident that the drug will help in curing the vitiligo of their patient. They have expected a successful treatment because they know and understand the disease and how Tofacitinibn works.

Even if King and his group’s study showed very promising results, experts advise individuals with vitiligo to practice caution when taking the drug.

David Gawkrodge, spokesperson of the British Skin Foundation, stated that JAK inhibitors were not fully assessed yet. He added that the drugs may have significant adverse effects. He suggests that dermatologists, pharmaceutical companies and law makers should join forces in evaluating the efficacy rate of this the drug.

Brent and his colleagues study was published on the June 4 edition of JAMA Dermatology.