News - 27 Apr `21JAKs of All Trades: Ruxolitinib Cream For Vitiligo


The findings from the Incyte-funded trials show benefit for both continued and discontinued use of ruxolitinib cream after a long treatment period. 

Presentations at recent American Academy of Dermatology Virtual Meeting Experience have highlighted the newest and promising therapeutics—some of which are on the cusp of breaking new ground. One of these therapies is the Janise Kinase (JAK) inhibitor class. JAK inhibitors are anti-inflammatory therapies that combat diseases at the immune system level. They target the JAK-STAT pathway, a signal mediator for cytokines associated with several skin diseases, like psoriasis, itch, atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata and vitiligo. JAKs work incredibly quickly—on the order of hours to a few days. 

A pair of new study results indicate that an experimental JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib cream is associated with significant and maintained repigmentation in patients with vitiligo. The first  assessment showed the twice-daily cream therapy provided significant facial and total body repigmentation when administered as a 1.5% dose over 104 weeks. The second assessment showed repigmentation may be maintained by patients with vitiligo after discontinuing ruxolitinib at 104 weeks.

There’s a lot of promise to using our first topical JAK inhibitor in dermatology,” says David Rosmarin, MD, vice chair of Research and Education in the Dermatology Department at Tufts Medical Center. “It’s been most studied in atopic dermatitis, but there are other uses of the medicine, such as vitiligo.”

However, JAK inhibitors are certainly not the panacea, especially for those conditions that have long been untreatable, — like vitiligo. What the topical JAK inhibitor may mean for real-world patients is an opportunity for more reasoanable disease management, but the parameters of the novel therapy’s use will have to be first refined by clinicians.

The average cost for ruxolitinib oral tablet 5 mg is around $14,390 for a supply of 60 tablets, depending on the U.S. pharmacy you visit. Price is for cash paying customers only, insurance coverage may differ. While 99% of insurance plans cover the common version of Jakafi at a co-pay of $50.00-$77.50, some of them may have restrictions. Incyte also offers IncyteCARES Patient Assistance Program for those without prescription coverage and gross family household income at or less than $125,000.

And while safety and efficacy continue to be explored for the JAK inhibitors by Incyte, many biotech companies continue their work on other novel vitiligo treatments. 


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