NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Losing your hair can be a traumatic experience.
Some people have serious conditions, losing all their hair, including their eyelashes and eyebrows.READ MORE: Hope For Women Suffering Hair Loss May Come In The Form Of A Drug Used To Cure Eczema
But as CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Monday, there is now hope in the form of an approved asthma and eczema drug that’s growing hair back.
“I felt myself withdrawing socially. I didn’t really want to go out and mix and mingle with people. I really didn’t want to have to explain what was going on,” hair loss patient Beth Goldstein said.
Goldstein, a retired attorney, described what it felt like losing her hair to an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata.
“I have lost basically, I have little stubble, but hair all around here. So it’s from like the middle of my head down over my ears,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein makes it sound like she still had some hair, but she virtually had no hair at all.READ MORE: Drug Used To Treat Blood, Marrow Disorders Can Also Treat Alopecia, Study Finds
But then she underwent an amazing transformation, thanks to a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug called dupilumab, brand name Dupixent.
Dr. Emma Guttman, chairwoman of dermatology at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, pioneered the clinical trials on Dupixent. She explained that the autoimmune process that triggers asthma and eczema also underlies this alopecia. The good news is that Dupixent is very safe.
“So, it’s the type of drug that doesn’t need any blood monitoring, nothing children, nothing adults, super safe. We actually didn’t have any safety issues. And in the patients with alopecia, we even didn’t see conjunctivitis that we see in patients with atopic dermatitis. So that we didn’t see in this population,” Guttman said.
Hair growth is gradual and many of the patients have other allergic conditions. But for people like Goldstein, it’s a godsend.
“Hair is supposedly your crowning glory. You can certainly live without it, but it’s better to have it,” she said.MORE NEWS: Yankees Wrap Up HOPE Week With Visit To Kids With Alopecia
Here’s the bad news. Dupixent does not work on male-pattern baldness. That’s a different disease process altogether, but because the drug is approved for asthma and eczema, physicians can prescribe it off label, as long as actual alopecia has been diagnosed.