In his interview, Dr. Amin discusses his views on the FDA’s recent approval of ritlecitinib for the treatment of adolescent patients with alopecia areata.
During this HCPLive interview, Ahmad Amin, MD, spoke about his own views on the recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of once-per-day ritlecitinib for alopecia areata in adolescent patients.1
Amin serves as Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, in addition to being the director of the Psoriasis Program and co-director of the school’s Multidisciplinary Psoriatic Arthritis Clinic.
Once-daily oral ritlecitinib was approved in June of 2023 for the treatment of severe alopecia areata in individuals who are ≥12 years of age. The approval makes ritlecitinib the second systemic therapy that has been approved to treat the chronic hair loss condition, after baricitinib.
“Yeah, I think it's huge,” he said. “Right now as you know, we already have a medication approved to treat our patients with alopecia areata called baricitinib which offers a lot of benefits to our patients. But, you know, the FDA only approved that medicine for patients who were 18 and above. And so this is a huge advance.”
Amin noted that the approval is a major step forward, given that around 20% of patients with alopecia areata develop the condition prior to turning 18.
“So we have a large group of patients who have severe alopecia areata, who are yearning for treatment,” he said. “And now we have a kind of clear pathway, and a drug to be able to sort of speak to them about, that we can put them on.”
Later, Amin commented on the notion of the public’s perception of alopecia as being a condition with little importance compared to conditions such as psoriasis.
“I mean, it can be significant for anyone, but imagine how significant it can be in someone who's a teenager going through middle school or high school, and sort of the social and the psychological implications that might have to have a significant amount of hair loss that early in life,” he said. “So we see a significant sort of social and psychological impact in all patients, but particularly in our younger patients. It's huge.”
Amin also noted that for the substantial population of younger alopecia patients over 12, the approval of baricitinib for adults in 2022 offered only the possible future of treatment options for adolescents.
“Of course, we would try various ways to get off-label use approved for those patients,” he said. “But now we have a clear and sure pathway for someone who's 14, 15, or 16, who may be suffering from significant alopecia areata, to be able to get them on a medication that the FDA has approved for their age group.”
Amin later commented that 10 years prior, pharmaceutical companies probably may not have even heard of alopecia areata. Thankfully, he added, now there are 2 strong treatment options with solid clinical trial data behind them.
For further information on Amin’s views regarding the approval of ritlecitinib, view the full interview segment above.
The quotes contained in this description were edited for clarity.