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Poster Detailing Safety of JAK Inhibitors Wins Award at AAD Annual Meeting


Henry Lim, MD, shares insights on JAK inhibitor safety and the poster presented at the AAD Annual Meeting

The poster “Long-Term Adverse Event Risks of Systemic Janus Kinase (JAK) Inhibitors versus Traditional Immunomodulators” won third place at the 2024 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.1

Because JAK inhibitors have proven effective in treating atopic dermatitis and alopecia areata and has shown promise for other dermatological disorders, researchers and clinicians remain concerned about the US Food and Drug Administration’s black box warning regarding their long-term use. To better understand the risk of long-term adverse events compared with traditional immunomodulators, the poster researchers conducted a comprehensive literature.

The poster looked at such adverse event rates for malignancies (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC)), NMSC, major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), venous thromboembolism (VTE), infections, as well as other outcomes for exposure exceeding 1 year. The study looked at Jak inhibitors (ie, tofacitinib, baricitinib, upadacitinib, and ruxolitinib) and traditional immunomodulators (ie, cyclosporine, methotrexate, etanercept, and adalimumab) as well as systemic steroids. The resulting analysis noted equivalent or lower rates for most adverse events for the JAK inhibitors compared with the conventional immunomodulators.

Dermatology Times spoke with Henry Lim, MD, the lead investigator, about the findings and their implications for clinical practice. Lim is a dermatologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and past president of the AAD. “The bottom line is that [JAK inhibitors] is safe to use in appropriate patients,” Lim said, adding that clinicians should be aware of the increased risk of herpes zoster, monitor and take care of such accordingly.

The contraindicators for the JAK inhibitors are the same as those that should be considered for traditional immunomodulators, Lim added. This includes patients who are immunosuppressed, those with active infections like tuberculosis. “Otherwise, I think it is totally appropriate to use JAK inhibitors for patients,” he said.

Lim also commented on the current news of benzene reportingly found in acne products as a result of heat conditions. “Clearly this is something that needs to be investigated further,” he told Dermatology Times. “This is a new issue that we all have to deal with. To be cautious, probably one needs to tell our patients that the data is still in flux,” he said. “If they are concerned, they can use other products.”

Overall, Lim thought the meeting was filled with rigorous information and very good attendance. “It is great for dermatology.”


1. Lamberg O, Pandher K, Lim H. Long-Term Adverse Event Risks of Systemic Janus Kinase (JAK) Inhibitors versus Traditional Immunomodulators. Presented at the 2024 AAD Annual Meeting; March 8-12; San Diego. Accessed March 17, 2024. https://eposters.aad.org/abstracts/53329

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