Tofacitinib: A Promising Treatment for Alopecia Areata and Crohn's Disease


Alopecia areata (AA) is an immune-mediated hair loss condition that has been reported in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This suggests a possible shared molecular pathway between AA and IBD. In this article, we discuss a case where a patient with Crohn's disease developed alopecia areata while being treated with adalimumab and how tofacitinib, a Janus kinase 1/3 inhibitor, was used to successfully treat both conditions.

Case Study

A 37-year-old woman with a history of Crohn's disease was treated with adalimumab, which helped her achieve clinical remission. After two years of treatment, she developed alopecia areata that rapidly progressed to alopecia totalis and universalis. This hair loss persisted despite treatment with topical steroids and minoxidil. The patient was then switched to tofacitinib, which eventually led to complete hair regrowth and maintenance of her Crohn's disease.

Tofacitinib as a Potential Treatment

Tofacitinib is an oral Janus kinase 1/3 inhibitor that has been approved for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis who failed other treatments. A recent meta-analysis showed promising results for tofacitinib in treating alopecia areata, with a pooled good/complete hair regrowth rate of 54.0%.

While tofacitinib has not shown significant improvements in clinical remission for Crohn's disease in clinical trials, real-world experience suggests that it may be effective for some patients. More selective JAK inhibitors, such as upadacitinib and filgotinib, have also demonstrated efficacy in treating Crohn's disease.


The case study presented demonstrates the potential of tofacitinib in treating alopecia areata and Crohn's disease. Although more research is needed to confirm these findings, tofacitinib and other selective JAK inhibitors may offer a new treatment option for patients with both conditions.

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