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Understanding Alopecia Areata
For many people, alopecia areata presents as small, well-defined patches of hair loss on the scalp. But for others with severe cases, the unpredictable autoimmune disease can progress to a complete loss of scalp and body hair, including eyelashes and eyebrows. While the causes of the disease are not fully understood, it is believed to be the result of complex immune signals that change the hair growth cycle, resulting in hair loss. Unfortunately, there is no cure for alopecia areata, which can affect people of all ages and ethnicities. It is estimated that about 300,000 people in the U.S. have alopecia areata involving more than 50% scalp hair loss.
Despite being a medical condition, alopecia areata is often mistakenly viewed as a cosmetic condition, camouflaged with wigs and fake eyelashes. This has left many people, especially those with severe disease, searching for an appropriate way to manage hair loss. In fact, in a 2016 U.S. study of 1,083 adults with alopecia areata, 8 in 10 patients were unsatisfied with existing medical treatment options for alopecia areata.
Dr. Brett King, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.D., has seen firsthand the frustration of patients with limited treatment options. “Working with so many alopecia areata patients, I recognize the need for treatment options for this condition that affects patients in so many ways,” Dr. King said. “My work has focused on helping those living with severe alopecia areata, with the goal of bringing effective treatments to them.”
First FDA-Approved, Oral Treatment for Adults with Severe Alopecia Areata
In June 2022, Olumiant® (baricitinib) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the first and only oral treatment for adults with severe alopecia areata. Olumiant is available as 4 mg, 2 mg and 1 mg tablets.
Dr. King was the lead investigator of the Olumiant clinical trials conducted in adults with severe alopecia areata. He has been studying Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, like Olumiant, over the past decade. Seeing the need in the alopecia areata community, Dr. King worked tirelessly for his patients to advance the understanding of the disease to identify potential options for patients.
“The marriage of science and medicine has finally gotten us to the point of an FDA-approved oral medicine for adults living with severe alopecia areata,” said Dr. King.
In clinical studies, some adults with severe alopecia areata taking Olumiant saw 80% scalp hair coverage at 36 weeks.* For those taking Olumiant 4 mg once daily, some even saw 90% or greater scalp hair coverage at 36 weeks.** In people with substantial eyebrow and eyelash hair loss, some taking Olumiant 4 mg once daily saw an improvement in eyebrow and eyelash coverage at 36 weeks. The recommended dose is 2 mg once daily for most patients, but certain patients may be treated with 4 mg once daily. Your healthcare provider will determine the right dose for you.
Olumiant may cause serious side effects, including serious infections, increased risk of death, cancer and immune system problems, increased risk of major cardiovascular events, and blood clots. See below for more information.
*Up to 22% of people taking 2 mg once daily
**Up to 26% of people taking 4 mg once daily
Learning More About Your Options
Dr. King recommends having an open and honest conversation with your doctor about your hair loss, including what treatment options you can access through your insurance coverage. If your doctor has provided you with a prescription for Olumiant, Olumiant Together™ is a patient support program where a representative can thoroughly evaluate your insurance coverage status and share information on how to enroll in a customer support program.
For eligible commercially insured patients, financial support for Olumiant can be offered through the Olumiant savings card. You may be able to save on Olumiant even if your commercial insurance doesn’t cover the cost of your treatment. Find out if you’re eligible on Olumiant.com. Government beneficiaries excluded, terms and conditions apply.
If you are an adult with severe alopecia areata, talk to your doctor to see if Olumiant may be right for you. Visit Olumiant.com to learn more.
INDICATIONS AND SAFETY SUMMARY WITH WARNINGS
Olumiant® (O-loo-me-ant) is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor used to treat:
- adults with severe alopecia areata.
- adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis after treatment with 1 or more medicines called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers have been used, and did not work well enough or could not be tolerated.
Warnings – Olumiant may cause serious side effects, including:
- Serious infections, including tuberculosis (TB), shingles, and others caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Some people have died from these infections. Olumiant can make you more likely to get infections or make any infections that you have worse. Your doctor should test for TB before starting Olumiant and watch for TB symptoms during treatment. You should not start Olumiant if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor tells you it is okay. While taking Olumiant, tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of an infection, such as:
If you get a serious infection, your doctor may stop Olumiant until your infection is controlled.
- Increased risk of death in people 50 years of age or older who have at least 1 heart disease risk factor and are taking a medicine in a class of medicines called JAK inhibitors.
- Cancer and immune system problems. Olumiant may increase your risk of lymphoma and other cancers, including skin cancers. People taking a medicine in the class of medicines called JAK inhibitors have a higher risk of certain cancers, including lymphoma and lung cancer, especially if you are a current or past smoker. Follow your doctor’s advice about having your skin checked for skin cancer while taking Olumiant.
- Increased risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke or death in people 50 years of age and older who have at least 1 heart disease risk factor and taking a medicine in the class of medicines called JAK inhibitors, especially if you are a current or past smoker. Get emergency help right away if you have any symptoms of a heart attack or stroke while taking Olumiant, including:
- discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back
- severe tightness, pain, pressure, or heaviness in your chest, throat, neck, or jaw
- pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
- breaking out in a cold sweat
- nausea or vomiting
- feeling lightheaded
- weakness in one part or on one side of your body
- slurred speech
- Blood clots in the veins of your legs or lungs, and arteries. This may be life-threatening and cause death. Blood clots in the veins of legs and lungs have happened more often in people who are 50 years of age or older and with at least 1 heart disease risk factor taking a medicine in the class of medicines called JAK inhibitors. Stop taking Olumiant and tell your doctor or get emergency help right away if you have any signs and symptoms of blood clots, including swelling, pain or tenderness in the leg, sudden chest pain, or shortness of breath, while taking Olumiant.
- Allergic reactions. While taking Olumiant, if you have symptoms, such as rash (hives), trouble breathing, feeling faint or dizzy, or swelling of your lips, tongue, or throat, stop taking Olumiant and get emergency help right away. Some of these reactions seen in people taking Olumiant were serious.
- Tears in the stomach or intestines. This happens most often in people who also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, or methotrexate. While taking Olumiant, tell your doctor right away if you have fever and stomach-area pain that does not go away, and a change in bowel habits.
- Changes in laboratory test results. Your doctor should do blood tests before and while taking Olumiant. You should not take Olumiant if your white or red blood cell count is too low or your liver tests are too high. Your doctor may pause your treatment with Olumiant because of changes in these test results. Your doctor should also check your cholesterol levels approximately 12 weeks after you start Olumiant and as needed.
Common side effects
The most common side effects of Olumiant in people treated for alopecia areata include:
The most common side effects of Olumiant in people treated for rheumatoid arthritis include:
These are not all the possible side effects of Olumiant. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. You can report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Before you use Olumiant, tell your doctor if you:
- Are being treated for an infection, have an infection that won’t go away or keeps coming back, or think you have symptoms of an infection.
- Have TB or have been in close contact with someone with TB.
- Have had shingles (herpes zoster).
- Have had hepatitis B or C, cancer, or blood clots in the veins of your legs or lungs.
- Live, have lived, or have visited parts of the country that increase your risk of fungal infections. These may include the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys and the Southwest. Ask your doctor if you do not know if you have lived in an area where these infections are common.
- Are a current or past smoker.
- Have had a heart attack, other heart problems or stroke.
- Have other medical conditions, including kidney or liver problems, low blood cell counts, diabetes, lung disease, HIV, or a weak immune system.
- Have any stomach-area pain or have been diagnosed with inflammation in the large intestine (diverticulitis) or ulcers in your stomach or intestines.
- Have recently received or plan to receive a vaccine. People taking Olumiant should not receive live vaccines.
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Olumiant may harm your unborn baby. If you become pregnant while taking Olumiant, call Eli Lilly and Company at 1-800-545-5979 to report the pregnancy.
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You should not breastfeed while taking Olumiant and for 4 days after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby while taking Olumiant.
- Are taking other medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. It is especially important to tell your doctor, if you take:
- a medicine called probenecid
- medicines that affect your immune system, such biologic medications, other JAK inhibitors, or strong immunosuppressants (such as azathioprine or cyclosporine) since these may increase your risk of infection.
- Are under age 18. It is not known if Olumiant is safe and effective in children.
How to take
- Take Olumiant exactly as your doctor says.
- Take Olumiant once a day by mouth with or without food.
- Talk to your doctor if you cannot swallow tablets whole.
- If you take too much Olumiant, call your doctor or poison control center at 1-800-222-1222, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
Olumiant is a prescription medicine. For more information, call 1-800-545-5979 or go to www.olumiant.com.
This summary provides basic information about Olumiant but does not include all information known about this medicine. Read the information that comes with your prescription each time your prescription is filled. This information does not take the place of talking with your doctor. Be sure to talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about Olumiant and how to take it. Your doctor is the best person to help you decide if Olumiant is right for you.
BA CON BS 14SEP2022
Olumiant® is a registered trademark and Olumiant Together™ is a trademark owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries, or affiliates.
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