What We’re Reading: FDA Approves Alopecia Drug; AMA Opposes Abortion Restrictions; Experimental ALS Therapy

The FDA approved Eli Lilly’s baricitinib drug to regrow hair in patients with alopecia; the American Medical Association (AMA) adopts resolutions that go against criminalization of abortion; an experimental amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) therapy under review with the FDA has been approved in Canada.

FDA Approves Drug for Hair Regrowth in Patients With Alopecia

The FDA approved Eli Lilly’s baricitinib drug for the treatment of alopecia, The New York Times reported. The Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor works to regrow hair by preventing the immune system from attacking hair follicles, and has already been approved and put on the market for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. In 2 trials including 1200 patients with severe alopecia areata, nearly 40% of patients who received baricitinib had complete or near complete hair regrowth after 36 weeks, and nearly 50% had their hair back after a year. Pfizer and Concert Pharmaceuticals are reported to be in the process of getting their own JAK inhibitors approved for alopecia.

AMA Adopts Resolutions Protecting Abortion Rights

The American Medical Association (AMA) policy making body voted Monday to adopt several resolutions that go against state efforts to criminalize abortion and other reproductive health services. Bloomberg Law reported, the AMA has never gone this far in its reproductive health policies, and the resolutions were unanimously approved by its House of Delegates. Some of these resolutions include advocating for legal protection for people who cross state lines to seek an abortion and creating a task force to guide organized medicine’s response to abortion bans and restrictions. This news precedes the final Supreme Court ruling that could overturn Roe v Wade.

Experimental ALS Therapy Approved in Canada, Under Review in US

Experimental amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) therapy, AMX0035 (Albrioza), is the first approved treatment in the world for the neurological condition following news of its approval in Canada, The New York Times reported. The FDA is currently reviewing the treatment for approval in the United States but has raised questions about its efficacy. While an FDA review from earlier in the year found the therapy to be safe, it also argued there is not enough evidence supporting its efficacy in helping patients live longer or slowing the rate at which patients lose function in muscle control, speaking, or breathing. An advisory group to the FDA narrowly voted against its approval in March, and a final decision for its approval in the United States may not be made until September.