Baricitinib Backed for Approval for Alopecia Areata in the EU Baricitinib Backed for Approval for Alopecia Areata in the EU

The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended approval of baricitinib, a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, for the treatment of adults with severe alopecia areata (AA).

The development, which was announced in a May 20, 2022, press release from the manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Incyte, marks the first step toward European regulatory approval of baricitinib (Olumiant) for patients with severe AA, and it is now referred to the European Commission for final action. A decision is expected within the next 2 months.

The committee based its positive opinion on the results of the phase 3 BRAVE-AA1 and BRAVE-AA2 trials, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which evaluated the efficacy and safety of baricitinib in 1,200 patients with severe AA, according to the press release. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients achieving a Severity of Alopecia Tool (SALT) score of ≤20 at week 36. In both studies, 1 out of 3 patients treated with baricitinib 4-mg achieved 80% or more scalp hair coverage, compared with 1 out of 20 patients and 1 out of 50 patients taking placebo in BRAVE-AA1 and BRAVE-AA2, respectively (P ≤ .001 for all comparisons to placebo).

According to safety profile information from the phase 3 BRAVE-AA clinical program, few patients discontinued treatment because of adverse events (2.6% or less across both studies), and most treatment-emergent adverse events were mild or moderate in severity.

In February 2022, the Food and Drug Administration granted priority review for baricitinib in adults with severe AA. Lilly expects additional regulatory decisions in the United States and Japan in 2022.

Baricitinib is approved in the United States as a treatment for adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. Prescribing information can be viewed here.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.