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JAK Inhibitors for Eczema Treatment: Are They Right for You?

JAK inhibitors are the latest development in eczema treatment. These recently FDA approved drugs are designed to block the pathways that the immune system uses that trigger an inflammatory response in people with eczema. That means less itching, redness, sensitivity, and swelling.

If you’ve been struggling to minimize your eczema symptoms at home or with current prescription options, you may be wondering what exactly JAK inhibitors are—and if they’re right for you. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are JAK Inhibitors?

Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors are classified as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). They interrupt the JAK-STAT signaling pathways in order to prevent the immune system from triggering an inflammatory response. JAK inhibitors are used for inflammatory conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and now eczema.

Which JAK Inhibitors Are Approved for Eczema?

Currently, the FDA has approved three JAK inhibitors to be used for eczema, two oral and one topical:


  • Abrocitinib (Cibinqo) is an oral tablet for adults with moderate to severe eczema.
  • Upadacitinib (Rinvoq) is an oral tablet for adults and children over 12 with moderate to severe eczema.
  • Ruxolitinib (Opzelura) is a topical cream for adults and children over 12 with mild to moderate eczema.

How Do JAK Inhibitors Treat Eczema?

Eczema is caused in part by inflammatory cytokines—proteins that alert the immune system to trigger an inflammatory response. These cytokines send messages to the immune system by attaching to receptors in the JAK-STAT pathway. JAK inhibitors block that pathway, which makes it harder for cytokines to send messages that trigger an inflammatory response, resulting in a reduction of eczema symptoms.  

 

Are JAK Inhibitors Safe to Use?

Like all drugs, JAK inhibitors come with side effects. The most common adverse events from JAK inhibitor use include headaches, nausea, herpes infections, respiratory infections, decreased platelet counts, and increased blood creatine phosphokinase levels.

Some people using JAK inhibitors for eczema reported new instances of acne and folliculitis.    


Upadacitinib (Rinvoq), Abrocitinib (Cibinqo), and Ruxolitinib (Opzelura) come with a black box warning, which means that serious or life-threatening risks have been associated with these medications. JAK inhibitors could cause infection, cancer, cardiovascular disease, low blood cell count, and high cholesterol.


Be sure to discuss your health history and risk factors with your doctor before starting the use of JAK inhibitors. Your doctor may choose to start with a low dosage, take breaks between treatments, or closely monitor you to help avoid serious side effects.


Gladskin Eczema Cream and JAK Inhibitors

While JAK inhibitors help manage the body’s immune response, Gladskin Eczema Cream targets the bacterial imbalance on the surface of the skin that can contribute to eczema.  If you’re wondering whether you can use both at the same time, the answer is yes—they tackle two different key eczema drivers. If you’re using the topical JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib (Opzelura), make sure to wait several hours before applying Gladskin—because each is absorbed through the skin, they both need time to do their work.

So, Are JAK Inhibitors Right for You?

Deciding whether JAK inhibitors are right for you requires a discussion with a board certified dermatologist. These professionals can go over your health history and risk factors to determine if it’s appropriate to use JAK inhibitors to treat your eczema. For a topical, over-the-counter solution that can be used alongside JAK inhibitors or other prescription eczema treatments, check out Eczema Cream with Micreobalance®.