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2022: The Year of JAK Inhibitors

Brett King, MD, PhD, reviews how the drug class has altered the state of chronic skin disease management in this year alone.

Every year at a major dermatology conference, Brett King, MD, PhD, gives a presentation generally along the topic of “the future of the field.” He notices often that his peers are less than enthusiastic for the conversation—“nobody wants to talk about the future when the future never comes,” he explained.

Well, the future came, and it’s all any of his peers want to talk about.

In the second segment of an interview with HCPLive, King, associate professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine, discussed the outburst of JAK inhibitor agents in dermatology this year—easily making the emerged drug class the headline story of 2022.

“2022 has brought 2 new therapies for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis: abrocitinib and upadacitinib,” King said. “It brought the first ever treatment for alopecia treat: baricitinib. It brought the first ever treatment for vitiligo: ruxolitinib 1.5% cream. It brought an effective oral therapy for psoriasis: deucravacitinib. All JAK inhibitors. Holy cow, 2022 was the year of the JAK inhibitor. It’s just incredible—we’re able to do things with this class of medicine that we’ve never been able to do before.”

King also discussed his hopes for 2023 successes on the basis of this year’s developments. With a boom of agents reaching the market, he stressed the value of patience going forward.

“Honestly, I want to spend time in this moment,” King said. “But my answer is not that I want to see a pipeline with 4 new things. What I want to see a year from now is that all of us and patients have learned this important thing: it takes time.”

Speaking specifically to the ruxolitinib cream approval for vitiligo, he said clinicians need to advance “our knowledge and our sophistication in the care of these patients.”

“I want for this approval to advance the way we take care of, talk to and counsel our patients,” he said.