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What does it mean that the FDA has approved Ruxolitinib for eczema?

You may assume that a prescription medicine is the best for your condition, and you may be right in some cases. But just like taking an antibiotic may be a bad idea when you have a cold, so could be using a “strong” medicine for a skin condition. A steroid cream used long-term will make your skin thinner and give you “steroid acne”.  And a prescription medicine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis may be a bit too much treatment for a skin condition.

Recently, the FDA has approved the prescription drug Ruxolitinib as a medication for the treatment of eczema. Does this mean you should go for it? Let’s look at how this drug works. How specific is it?

Ruxolitinib is a medication for the treatment of intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis, a type of myeloproliferative disorder that affects the bone marrow, and steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease. Ruxolitinib is a JAK inhibitor and has therapeutic application in the treatment of cancer and inflammatory disease.

Enzymes that add phosphate groups are called protein kinases. The JAK-STAT system consists of three main components: (1) a receptor, which penetrates the cell membrane; (2) Janus kinase (JAK), which is bound to the receptor, and; (3) Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT), which carries the signal into the nucleus and DNA.  After the cytokine binds to the receptor, JAK adds a phosphate to (phosphorylates) the receptor. This attracts the STAT proteins, which are also phosphorylated and bind to each other, forming a pair. The dimer moves into the nucleus, binds to the DNA, and causes transcription of genes. 

The complex mechanism of action of JAK and of the medications that target this system mean that the effects will be felt far from the target. One should expect wide range side effects.

Before you ask your doctor to prescribe you a hatchet to treat your eczema, try the more benign interventions available, like avoiding frequent hot baths, checking your skin care products for ingredients known to irritate the skin, and look at the many options that Skin Actives offers you and are devoid of side effects.


Other relevant posts:

What do eczema and diaper rash have in common?

July is Eczema awareness month

Oils to add to your bath

Claims on this page have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

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