Vitiligo, AIFA now reimburses the first specific treatment

The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) has granted the reimbursement of Opzelura (ruxolitinib) the 15mg/g cream, the first and only specific treatment for non-segmental vitiligo with facial involvement – the most widespread form – in adults and adolescents from 12 years of age.

A good news

Finally some good news, for all those who suffer from this skin disease, and who until now were forced to pay for both the medicines and the preparations out of their own pockets. To announce this with a note Incytethe global biopharmaceutical company that developed the product, specifying that the medicine is subject to a limited medical prescription, to be renewed from time to time, and can be sold to the public upon prescription from hospital centers or dermatological specialists.

What is vitiligo?

Often considered only as an aesthetic problem, vitiligo – recognizable by its characteristic white spots – is actually one chronic disease which affects between 0.5% and 2% of the world’s population and which has a strong impact from a social, psychological and emotional point of view. Opzelurathe medicine that will finally be reimbursable for all patients, acts on the basic mechanism of the disease allowing the skin to repigment.

To explain what this disease specifically is Giuseppe Argenzianopresident of Sidemast, Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (SIDeMaST). “It deals with – explains – of non-pigmented spots because the disease consists in the destruction of the melanocytes which produce melanin, the color of normal skin, so these light spots are produced especially on the face, indeed very often on the face itself and therefore It is understandable that this is the reason for the serious social problem that this disease produces.”

The words of the expert

Finally, people suffering from vitiligo will have a choice – he adds Ugo Viorapresident Anap OnlusNational Association of Friends for Leather – To date, the lack of effective treatments for this pathology has been one of the most impactful aspects on the psychological sphere of patients: not having a prospect of a cure and witnessing the progressive failure of the tested approaches leads patients to experience a sense of frustration and defeat“, explains the doctor.

Then adding: “It is no coincidence that anxiety and depression are respectively 72% and 32% more common in people suffering from vitiligo than in the rest of the population. The arrival of a first specific treatment for vitiligo will change the perspective of thousands of patients and their families”.

How the drug works

Ruxolitinib -the active ingredient of the medicine – is part of a class of inhibitors of Janus kinasealso known as Jak inhibitors. Already used successfully in oncology and in various dermatological diseases, they represent an important innovation compared to the remedies used up to now for vitiligo – it is explained in the released note – because they act specifically on the pathogenetic mechanism underlying the disease, allowing to initiate the repigmentation process.

The results of Phase III clinical trials – he always explains Giuseppe Argenzianohave demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug in bringing a significant improvement in the repigmentation of both facial and body lesions in adults and adolescents from 12 years of age”.

Prolonged use of Ruxolitinib – continues Argenziano – manages to produce at least 75% repigmentation of vitiligo spots in at least 50% of patients. So this means that at least half of patients manage to achieve the almost complete disappearance of vitiligo spots“.

The news just released is certainly very comforting for the approximately 330 thousand people in Italy alone who suffer from this skin disease and who now have a very high chance of recovery, whatever their financial means.

 
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