37. Finally, an FDA-Approved Treatment for Alopecia Areata AND How To Get It!

Have you heard the exciting news about Baricitinib, also known as Olumiant, made my Eli Lilly, the first-ever FDA-approved drug for the treament of Alopecia Areata? If you haven’t, a friend of mine sent me this link to the NYT article which you don’t need a subscription to read:

I continue to jump through hoops trying to get a prescription for the drug, but know now after much persistence that one can indeed get the drug if one’s insurance doesn’t have it or won’t cover it. Read on to learn how.

My new dermatologist wasn’t aware of this process, and it took me a few weeks to learn about it. While I did so I followed my doctor’s advice and jumped through my millionth alopecia hoop, this time for the purposes of getting approved for Methotrexate. This drug is apparently used to treat cancer and one I really didn’t want to take. However, my dermatologist thought I could build a case for Baricitinib with my insurance company by “failing first” on Methotrexate, then maybe going onto Rinvoq (used for the treatment of Eczema, which I’ve had all my life but never knew it’s an auto-immune disease) before finally getting approved for Baricitinib.

Not sure about you but I don’t want to be on a drug that’s used to fight cancer. Just doesn’t feel like I’m attracting the right kind of mojo, you know? And I’ve been waiting 17 long years for this moment, and I’m just about done.

So, I went to the website for Baricitinib at olumiant.com and called up the drug reps at Eli Lilly (1-844-658-6426). I spoke with a very nice lady who told me that A: Olumiant is a specialty drug and as such requires that a dermatologist indicate the need for a “formulary exception” or prior authorization when writing a prescription for it, and B: Even if my insurance company doesn’t have Baricitinib/Olumiant on its “list of formularies” (which it doesn’t yet and may not for at least the next six months) or won’t cover its cost, Eli Lilly can provide.

You and your doctor just have to complete the Olumiant Together enrollment form, found here:

(https://www.olumiant.com/assets/pdf/derm_olumiant_enrollment_form_digital.pdf), or visit http://www.olumiant.com, go to “for health care providers” on the left hand side of the site, and click on “Olumiant Together Enrollment Forms.”

I’m told that this form and the “formulary exception” or a prior authorization form submitted to your insurance carrier by your dermatologist are needed to start the support process for Eli Lilly. You can also enroll in their prescription assistance program, a separate application completed easily through the company’s website. The most you would pay per month is $25, or as little as 5$. Go to olumiant.com and on the left-hand side bar look under the “For Consumers” tab and click on “Savings.”

I was told by the Eli Lilly representative that, once all paperwork is complete and received, patients could get authorization for the medication within 24-48 hours.
The reps at Eli Lilly are available from 8 am to 10 pm M-F. Their number again is 1-844-658-6426.

If you’re interested in watching the NAAF-sponsored webinar with Dr. Bret King, one of the primary researchers of alopecia areata at Yale University, discussing Baricitinib, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FgkcgOfja4&ab_channel=NationalAlopeciaAreataFoundation

Best of luck if you decide to go down this new road!


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