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Can Xeljanz Cause Hair Loss

Change Arthritis Drugs Or Dosages


You may be able to switch to a different type of drug with less risk of hair loss, such as a biologic or lower the dose of the offending medication while adding in another. Luckily, there are many options for treating inflammatory arthritis, so management changes can be made in patients experiencing excessive hair loss, Dr. Blazer says.

In the case of one patient experiencing hair loss, methotrexate still proved to be the most effective therapy for her RA, even after trying other DMARDs, Dr. Carteron says. Therefore, she elected to remain on methotrexate plus a TNF-blocker biologic, but we utilized the lowest possible dose of methotrexate, adjusting it to her disease activity.

Remember: Dont stop taking any arthritis medication without first talking to your doctor.

Xeljanz Use In Pregnancy

There isnt enough information available to know if Xeljanz is safe to take during pregnancy. In animal studies, harm was seen in fetuses when pregnant females were given Xeljanz. But animal studies dont always predict what will happen in humans.

Keep in mind that there are known risks to fetuses of pregnant women who have active rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis .

If youre pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor about whether Xeljanz is right for you. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of using Xeljanz during pregnancy. Theyll also discuss the benefits and risks of not treating your condition during pregnancy.

If youre taking or have taken Xeljanz during pregnancy, youre encouraged to enroll in the Xeljanz pregnancy registry. A pregnancy registry allows healthcare providers to collect information about the safety of using certain drugs during pregnancy. To enroll in this pregnancy registry, call 877-311-8972 or visit the registry website.

Before Taking This Medicine

You should not use Xeljanz if you are allergic to tofacitinib, or if you have any kind of infection.

To make sure Xeljanz is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver disease

  • heart problems

  • lung disease

  • HIV, or a weak immune system

  • a stomach or intestinal problem such as diverticulitis or an ulcer

  • kidney disease

  • diabetes or

  • if you are scheduled to receive any vaccine.

Taking Xeljanz at too high a dose may increase the risk of death in people with rheumatoid arthritis who are 50 and older and have at least 1 risk for heart disease. This includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, being overweight, or having a family history of heart disease. Talk to your doctor about your specific risk, and take only your recommended dose.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis or if anyone in your household has tuberculosis. Also tell your doctor if you have recently traveled. Tuberculosis and some fungal infections are more common in certain parts of the world, and you may have been exposed during travel.

Using Xeljanz may increase your risk of developing certain cancers, such as lymphoma or skin cancer. Ask your doctor about this risk.

It is not known whether tofacitinib will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Tofacitinib may affect your ability to have children during treatment and in the future.

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Will Stopping My Xeljanz Treatment Cause Any Side Effects

Its possible for symptoms of your condition to return when stopping Xeljanz. For example, if youre taking Xeljanz for rheumatoid arthritis , discontinuing treatment may cause your RA symptoms to worsen. This is because Xeljanz was working to decrease your symptoms.

This doesnt happen to everyone who stops taking the drug. If your condition is mild, you may not have worsening symptoms when you stop Xeljanz treatment.

If you want to discontinue Xeljanz treatment, discuss the possibility of worsening symptoms with your doctor. They may recommend other medications to ease your symptoms.

How To Cope With Hair Loss

Hair Loss Medical Term

Keep your hair healthy and as thick as possible while being treated with these tips:

Practice good hair care. Use conditioner and dont rub your scalp too hard when shampooing or towel-drying. Avoid styling products and heat, and dont pull your hair back in tight pony tails.

Use a thickening hair growth shampoo. I found this stuff called Nutri-Ox, a shampoo, conditioner, and scalp spray, and using it my hair has started to regrow, Sharon C. told us.

With your doctors OK, consider medical hair loss treatments. I committed six months to a hair growth treatment program thankfully it worked, Deb S. told us. I also changed medication. My hair is back in full force, no more wig and Im still using the growth program.

Keep a positive outlook. Methotrexate improved my RA and I am able to walk, so considering the alternative of not taking it and having my hair back, I have learned to live with the thinning, Mariann V. told us. I wish it was not so, but so many others have far worse things to deal with!

Even if hair loss happens, some patients put it in perspective this way: My hair is still thin but would not stop my meds due to it, Mary J. told us on Facebook. Rather have less pain and no hair. No-brainer!

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Take Folic Acid To Help Prevent Hair Loss From Methotrexate

Methotrexate also affects the absorption of the B vitamin folic acid, or folate in its natural form, which impacts cell division as well as hair growth. Patients on methotrexate should be taking folic acid at the same time to help mitigate methotrexate side effects, such as nausea. We can increase the folic acid dose if hair loss is occurring, says Dr. Domingues. Your doctor may also recommend a different version of folic acid called folinic acid, which is available by prescription. Its a little stronger, says Dr. Domingues.

I have had hair loss directly as a result of taking methotrexate the hair loss was immediate but I added extra folic acid and biotin , and those helped, Christina A. told us. Studies have shown taking folic acid doesnt alter the effectiveness of MTX.

What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Alopecia Areata

Sometimes, hair regrows on its own without treatment. This happens more often when someone has a few patches of alopecia areata, which have been there for less than 1 year.

When hair fails to grow back, treatment can help.

Self-care also plays an important role in the lives of people who have alopecia areata. To find out what dermatologists recommend, go to: Alopecia areata: Self-care.

ImagesGetty Images

ReferencesJang YH, Jung HJ, et al. Research letters: Systematic review and quality analysis of studies on the efficacy of topical diphenylcyclopropenone treatment for alopecia areata. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 77:170-2. Funding sources: Supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Ministry of Education. Conflicts of interest: None disclosed.

Lakhmiri M, Cavelier-Balloy B, et al. Nivolumab-induced alopecia areata: A reversible factor of good prognosis? JAAD Case Reports. 2018 4:761-5.

Lipner SR. Scher RK. To the editor: Alopecia areata. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018 79:e9-e10. Funding sources: None. Conflicts of interest: None disclosed.

Murad A, Bergfeld W. To the editor: Treatment for facial alopecia areata: A systematic review with evidence-based analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018 78:601-5. Funding sources: None. Conflicts of interest: None disclosed.

Phan K, Ramachandran V, et al. Methotrexate for alopecia areata: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2019 80:120-7.

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Anthralin Cream Or Ointment

This synthetic, tar-like substance also widely used for psoriasis is a common form of treatment for alopecia areata. Anthralin is applied to the hairless patches once a day and then washed off typically after a short time or in some cases, after several hours.


If new hair growth from anthralin application happens, it is usually visible within eight to 12 weeks.


This form of medication may irritate the skin and cause a temporary, brownish discoloration of the skin thats been treated. However, some patients can reduce these side effects by using anthralin for shorter periods of time, without decreasing the treatments effectiveness.

What Is Alopecia Areata

Hair Regrowth Update: Androgenic Alopecia

Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that involves the immune system. The hair loss usually starts out patchy, with circular areas of hairlessness. It can happen anywhere on your body that grows hair , but it usually starts at the scalp. There is a wide range of hair loss, and some people will eventually lose all the hair on their body .

Alopecia areata affects up to 2% of people at some point in their lifetime. It can affect people at any age but usually shows up before the age of 40. This type of hair loss isnt always permanent, and 50% of people will have their hair grow back within a year without any treatment. Unfortunately, these people often cycle through seasons of hair growth and loss.

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How Can I Prevent Infections While Im Taking Xeljanz

Its important to try to prevent infections while youre taking Xeljanz. This is because Xeljanz is an immunosuppressant .

The recommends several easy ways to reduce your risk of getting an infection:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water:
  • before preparing or eating food
  • after changing diapers or using the restroom
  • after touching any items that have been in contact with people who are sick
  • Properly wash and cook your food.
  • Make sure your water is safe to drink.
  • Avoid touching farm animals and the stool of any pets.
  • Avoid swallowing water from any natural bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers.
  • Practice safe sex by using condoms or other barrier methods.

Talk with your doctor about specific ways that you can prevent infections in your daily life.

Other Reasons For Hair Loss

Contact your rheumatologist immediately if you experience sudden or patchy hair loss, including:

  • Excessive amounts of hair loss when you brush or wash your hair
  • Regularly finding hair in your food
  • Seeing lots of hair on your pillow

These are not common side effects of arthritis medication.

A consultation with your healthcare provider or a dermatologist can help to discover if there is some other reason for the hair loss, such as:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis medications and hair loss.

    • Abedin, Shahreen. Arthritis Foundation: Getting to the Root of Hair Loss University of Maryland Medical Center: Hair Loss
    • Answer provided by Scott J. Zashin, M.D., clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Division of Rheumatology, in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Zashin is also an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain – The Miracle of Anti-TNF Blockers and co-author of Natural Arthritis Treatment.

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    Can You Do Anything To Stop Or Minimize Hair Loss With Arthritis Drugs

    Fortunately, if you experience hair loss from your arthritis medication, there is a lot that can be done to minimize or stop it completely. I have lowered the dose, stretched out the treatment cycle, made sure patients were taking folic acid and other B vitamins, and were eating a balanced anti-inflammatory diet, Dr. Carteron says. Here are some tips to prevent hair loss that you can try.

    Will Your Hair Grow Back

    Pin on Xeljanz Hair Loss Treatment

    Dr. Carteron says that hair can grow back after the cause of hair loss is identified and medications are adjusted as needed.

    With leflunomide I lost a third of the density of my hair, and I was devastated as it fell out so fast, Sue B. told us on Facebook. As soon as I stopped it, my hair began to recover.

    Some patients we heard from did say their hair didnt totally regain its former fullness. I didnt stay on methotrexate for long, but my hair just never came back, Rene Marie B. told us. Others said that their hair took a long time to regrow after stopping methotrexate as it slowly leaves the body. Some who stayed on MTX said the hair thinning eventually stopped.

    Unfortunately, its hard to know exactly how your medication will affect you until you start it.

    Even if your hair does thin, you might be the only one who can tell. I had extremely thick hair to start with so my hairdresser and I are the only ones who notice, Cindy B. told us. I am still on methotrexate because it works and the hair thinning has slowed down.

    Medication side effects can be scary and concerning, but the risks need to be balanced with a medications benefits. Dr. Blazer says she reviews the side effects of medications, including hair loss, ahead of time with patients. This empowers patients to look for the symptom and bring it up to me during our subsequent visits, she says.

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    Serious Side Effects Of Xeljanz

    Xeljanz may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to the Xeljanz medication guide.

    If you develop serious side effects while taking Xeljanz, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think youre having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

    Serious side effects* that have been reported include:

    Xeljanz may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drugs side effects and their answers.

    What Autoimmune Disorders Are

    With autoimmune disorders, your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body. Rheumatoid arthritis , psoriatic arthritis , and ulcerative colitis are autoimmune disorders that Xeljanz is used to treat.

    With these conditions, your immune system mistakenly attacks:

    • your joints, if you have RA
    • your joints and your skin, if you have PsA
    • the lining of your intestines or rectum, if you have UC

    In each of these conditions, your immune system is overactive. This results in inflammation in your joints, skin, or intestines and causes pain and other symptoms.

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    How To Stop Hair Loss In Elderly Women

    For elderly women who may be experiencing Type II or Type III female pattern hair loss, hair restoration treatments such as topical minoxidil, oral medications, or platelet-rich plasma therapy are an excellent option to reduce the appearance of hair loss. Though the majority of hair loss in elderly women doesnt have a cure, changes to hair habits and non-invasive hair regrowth treatments can have a huge impact.

    Effectiveness And Safety Of Tofacitinib In Patients With Extensive And Recalcitrant Alopecia Areata

    Drug Restores Hair Growth in Patients with Alopecia Areata
    The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
    First Posted : January 11, 2019Last Update Posted : February 10, 2021
    • Study Details
    Condition or disease
    Phase 4

    Alopecia areata or spot baldness, is a condition in which hair falls off from areas of the body. It often happens on the scalp, causing a few bald spots and it may result in psychological stress even though people are generally healthy. AA is believed to be an autoimmune disease progressing from a breach in the immune privilege of the hair follicles that causes hair to fall out in small patches, it may remain unnoticeable until the patches eventually connect and then become noticeable. It can develop slowly, and also recur after years between occurrences.

    The investigators propose the study to assess the safety and efficacy of Tofacitinib for extensive and recalcitrant AA and to evaluate the economic impact effecting the AA patients. Tofacitinib is an expensive medicine and needed to be taken up to 6 months to finish the course to have a best outcome so it is not a popular choice of AA treatment at present time unless it can show a promising result in recalcitrant AA.

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