Tofacitinib belongs to a class of medicine called “JAK (Janus Kinases) inhibitor” which reduces inflammation by blocking the activity of a group of enzymes in the JAK family. It helps to reduce symptoms such as joint pain and swelling and improves your performance of daily activities and quality of life.
Tofacitinib is used for the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) where Methotrexate is inadequate or causes intolerable side-effects. It may be used on its own, in combination with Methotrexate, or other conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). It has been used for other autoimmune diseases such as moderate to severe Ulcerative Colitis (UC).
Side effects may occur when taking Tofacitinib, but the vast majority of these tend to resolve spontaneously.
Common side effects include:
Consult your doctor, specialty nurse or pharmacist about any symptoms that becomes bothersome.
STOP Tofacitinib and seek medical attention immediately if you experience allergy. Allergic reaction to Tofacitinib is rare, but may be serious. Possible symptoms of allergy or anaphylaxis are:
rash, hives, or itching
red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin with or without fever
wheezing or tightness in the chest or throat
trouble breathing or talking
swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat
STOP Tofacitinib and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these uncommon but serious side-effects:
infection – possible symptoms are temperature exceeding 38°C, chills, cough, painful or bloody urination, feeling very tired or weak
liver problems – possible symptoms are dark urine, feeling tired, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, light-coloured stools, vomiting, yellow skin or eyes
bowel problems – possible symptoms are abdominal pain, bloody stool (unless these symptoms are related to Ulcerative Colitis which may improve with Tofacitinib)
Inform the doctor, specialty nurse or pharmacist if you have a history of diverticulitis (inflammation of the digestive tract) as Tofacitinib may not be suitable for you.
Your doctor may perform some blood tests before and after you start taking Tofacitinib. The frequency of the blood tests may be more frequent initially, to monitor for response and side-effects. Do come back to the hospital for regular blood tests as instructed by your doctor.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor for advice before taking this medicine. Women of childbearing potential must use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 28 days after stopping treatment with Tofacitinib.
Tofacitinib may interact with other medicine or supplement that you are taking. For example, Tofacitinib dosage might need to be reduced when taken with medicine such as Ketoconazole. Always consult your doctor, specialty nurse (such as dermatology, gastroenterology or rheumatology) or pharmacist before starting any medicine or supplements.
Immunization status should be current before starting the medicine. Do not receive any live vaccine while you are on Tofacitinib. Always consult your doctor before going for immunisation.
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