CIBINQO: The Newest JAK inhibitor
For as long as I can remember, topical steroids and immunosuppressants like cyclosporine were the only treatments prescribed to eczema patients. When Dupixent (dupilumab) came along, it was remarkable. The first biologic ever for atopic dermatitis. However, though an improvement in options, Dupixent is not a match for all.
But now, with more trials and research being conducted, new drugs are emerging.
One such drug is CINBINQO (abrocitinib).
What is a JAK inhibitor?
While biologics, like Dupixent, target ILs (interleukins), JAK inhibitors focus on blocking the JAK-STAT pathway (Janus Kinase-Signal transducer and activators of transcription). Why?
There are messengers in our immune system called cytokines, which can wreak havoc in our bodies when increased. They flow down this JAK-STAT pathway, allowing inflammation to increase. So, if the pathway is blocked off, it can help keep those eczema-flaring cytokines at bay.
This is obviously a brief description of a complicated situation, but overall, these JAK inhibitors are now big players in the dermatology world.
What are the benefits?
It's not a shot! I find that to be the most exciting. CIBINQO is a once-a-day pill. The dosage may change depending on your need.
The purpose of this drug is to help those with moderate-to-severe eczema. It should assist in reducing not only the inflammatory response that brings on skin rashes but the itch.
What a dream it would be not to be so itchy all day! However, there are always downsides.
Is CIBINQO safe?
On January 14, the FDA approved the public use of this drug. But, with the approval came the warnings.
The most common side effects are 1:
- Nasopharyngitis (basically, a cold)
- Head aches
- Herpes simplex
There are quite a few more (mostly under 5% of users), but the real concern comes from more serious side effects.
It is also recommended that this drug not be mixed with other biologics, immunosuppressants, or JAK inhibitors.
A trial run
Michelle, 29, Canada
Michelle was one of the first to trial CIBINQO. Topicals, like steroids and immunosuppressants, were not working well anymore. She was covered head to toe in eczema.
"Over the course of two years, I saw approximately eight doctors, three dermatologists, and two allergists, all who just kept prescribing me the same creams, even when I told them my quality of life was 1/10," she explained.
To her surprise, one dermatologist offered her a new solution: a drug trial.
"Within a month, my skin was absolutely cleared up, and I got my life back," she stated. "I was barely itching or flaring, and I was not as sensitive to things as before."
Stopping the drug
She was on the trial drug for about two years, coming off in May 2021.
"I was experiencing some dizziness and lightheadedness for a number of weeks. I had no clue if it was related to the drug, but I came off of it just in case."
Since coming off of the drug, Michelle still gets flare-ups but says they are much more manageable now. She is working with a naturopath and a bioenergetic medicine practitioner.
While I was searching for a second review of the drug, many were apprehensive about sharing their stories, some good, some bad. Drugs aren't "one shoe fits all." Sometimes they work great, and sometimes they fall short.
Just remember, always weigh out the pros and cons. Do your research. Make the best and most informed decision as possible when concerning your health.
Have you ever refused a medication or treatment?