Dermatologic Applications and Safety Considerations of Janus Kinase Inhibitors

Steven A. Svoboda, BS; Nathan Johnson, MD; Mariana Phillips, MD


Skin Therapy Letter. 2020;25(4):6-11. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Janus kinase inhibitors, also known as JAK inhibitors or jakinibs, represent a new class of medication that have broad potential to treat dermatologic disease. Currently, the only FDA-approved dermatologic indication for this class of medications is psoriatic arthritis; however, their utility in treating other immune-mediated skin conditions including atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, alopecia areata, and systemic and cutaneous lupus is actively being investigated. Overall, these drugs appear to be well-tolerated and have a safety profile similar to that of other biologics commonly used in dermatologic practice, although an increased risk of thromboembolism has been associated. While risk of mild infection and herpes zoster appears to be increased regardless of JAK selectivity, risk of thrombosis and malignancy based on the subtype of JAK inhibition remains to be seen. Certainly, safety concerns warrant further investigation; however, early data from ongoing clinical trials offer promise for the broad utility of these medications within future dermatologic practice.