Researchers at Yale University’s School of Medicine have discovered that arthritis drug may cure vitiligo. According to the research published in the journal JAMA Dermatology the drug could restore the pigment into the skin of those who suffer from this disease.
People who suffer from vitiligo lose their skin pigment in blotches. The condition is not dangerous for the life of the patient and it is neither painful. However it can make those affected feel distressed. Few treatments proved to be useful so far. This is not the first time a common drug proved to be useful in treating a condition which seemed to be unrelated. It seems that the reason behind it lies not in the drug itself, but in the way in which it influences the body.
In the study a 53-year-old patient who had white patches of skin on her hands, face and body was given tofacitinib citrate, a drug which is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis. After two month of treatment the woman’s face, hands and arms pigmented partially. After five months the spots on her face disappeared almost completely even though other parts of her body still had remaining white spots.
Researchers say that JAK inhibitors play an important role in the treatment of vitiligo. By inhibiting Janus kinase enzymes the behavior and the immune response of the body change. This is also useful for treating people who suffer from autoimmune conditions.
The discovery is a great progress in the treatment of vitiligo. It is very important that the woman did not experience any side effects, but it should also be noted that this was just an individual case. Further research should be conducted in order to prove that the treatment is indeed efficient.
The instances in which a treatment can work for a totally unrelated condition are very common in medicine. For example there have been cases in which Viagra was used to stop malaria transmission and antidepressants were used to treat Ebola. The most common dual usage drugs are medicines used for erectile dysfunction which were originally developed for low blood pressure.
The research team plans to conduct more clinical trials to see whether they will obtain the same results.
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