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Children's health

20th Jul 2023

New treatment approved to help teenagers with alopecia

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The Food and Drug Administration in the US has approved an alopecia treatment for kids in a huge move in helping young people dealing with it.

The FDA has approved the drug ritlecitinib, which is a once-daily pill for children aged 12 and older who are dealing with severe alopecia areata.

Alopecia areata is a disease that occurs when the body attacks the hair follicles causing hair loss.

The medication is set to be a major step for those dealing with alopecia.

The medication is set to be sold under the brand name Litfulo and is manufactured by Pfizer, and will become available to customers in the “coming weeks”.

It has yet to be approved in the EU or how much it would cost if it was to become available in Europe, with Pfizer saying a full year supply costing $49,000.

“We are committed to helping patients access the treatments they need,” Pfizer said in a statement. “There will be copay savings for commercially insured patients and a patient assistance program for eligible patients to help achieve this. Through the Pfizer Dermatology Patient Access Program, eligible patients will be able to get support with access to LITFULO.”

The medication was officially approved after 18-year-old Maria Strattner took part in a clinical trial to help treat her alopecia.

After losing her hair at the age of 13 within two weeks, Maria’s mum Maryann found the trial for the drug at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and entered the trial in 2020.

After taking the medication, Maria’s hair began to regrow, leading to the FDA giving final approval.