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Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Restores Vitiligo Patient’s Skin Color

Vitiligo Disease

In a strange turn of events, a drug which is normally administered as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment has successfully restored color to a woman afflicted with a skin disorder known as vitiligo, which is characterized by splotchy pigment.

Vitiligo is a disease which causes loss of skin color, which occurs in blotches. The results can be psychologically devastating for those afflicted with the disease, which include the likes of the late Michael Jackson.

The Connecticut woman’s case, which was documented in a study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, is believed to be the first of its kind.

Brett King, the study’s principal investigator and an assistant professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine was quoted in a report on The Economic Times as having said that the discovery “could revolutionize treatment of an awful disease,” as the findings indicated that the drug removed nearly all of the white on the woman’s face and hands without inducing any side effects.

It is a first, and it could revolutionize treatment of an awful disease (…) This may be a huge step forward in the treatment of patients with this condition

The arthritis drug used to treat the woman, 53-year-old Linda Lachance, and her disease is known as tofacitinib. Its potential to reverse the disease’s disfigurement could spell hope for the millions of people suffering from the condition.

In the case of Lachance, the number of white spots she had were increasing prior to taking the drug. After beginning treatment, she experienced partial repigmentation on her hands, arms and face — all within just a couple of months. Five months in, the white spots on her hands and face were all but gone and just a few spots remained throughout the rest of her body.

Vitiligo, which is not contagious, isn’t the only ailment which tofacitinib citrate can treat, as King previously experimented with treating the genetically-related disease characterized by hair loss that is alopecia areata and in the case of alopecia, the drug appeared to have worked, CTV News reported.

In other news, the FDA has approved a new HIV treatment drug and an unrelated study conducted by researchers at the University of Syndey in Australia has found a form of vitamin B3 to reduce skin cancer risk.

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