An oral drug which is routinely prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, tofacitinib citrate could be a cure for vitiligo according to a Yale University research. A new Yale University research has revealed that an FDA approved drug could hold a cure for vitiligo. Vitiligo is characterized by loss of skin color or pigmentation.

According to a report in Time Magazine, a 53 year old women suffering from Vitiligo with white spots covering her face, body and hands was given the drug Tofacitinib citrate for five months. Tofacitinib citrate is a FDA approved drug which is prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis. After five months of the treatment, the white spots on the face were gone while a few spots remained on other parts of the body. The details of the study were featured in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Dermatology.

According to principal investigator Dr. Brett King stated in an interview that the team had anticipated the successful treatment of the patient after a careful study of the drug for the rheumatoid arthritis and the diseased. Dr. King also referred to the work done by John Harris, a scientist and dermatologist at the University Of Massachusetts Medical Center as the inspiration for trying tofacitinib citrate in the vitiligo patient.

Vitiligo is a common disease in the US and more than 200,000 cases each year. Vitiligo is characterized by loss of pigment and also leads to the premature whitening of the hair. The late pop singer Michael Jackson is a well-known person who had vitiligo. The skin gets its color due to Melanin and vitiligo is caused by the destruction of pigment forming cells known as melanocytes. It is still not clear what triggers vitiligo but one possible explanation might be that the body’s immune system destroys the cells.

Tofacitinib citrate is a research product from Pfizer and of date has been approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

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