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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Xeljanz Adult

Tofacitinib - What is it for

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).

Tofacitinib - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Tofacitinib cause?

Side effects may occur when taking Tofacitinib, but the vast majority of these tend to resolve spontaneously.

Common side effects include: 

  • Upper respiratory tract infection 
  • Sinusitis
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Consult your doctor, specialty nurse or pharmacist about any symptoms that becomes bothersome.

Before taking Tofacitinib, what precautions must I follow?

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

  • unusual hoarseness

  • 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.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Tofacitinib?

Tofacitinib - Dosage and How to Use

How should Tofacitinib be used?

​Tofacitinib should be taken as prescribed by the doctor. The usual dose is one tablet twice daily, taken at the same time daily. The tablets can be taken with or without food. Your doctor may reduce the dose if you have liver or kidney problems. You should not increase the dose without consulting your doctor first. You may start to see improvement within a few weeks, but it may take several months to experience its full benefit.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take the tablet, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the forgotten dose. Resume the next dose at the regular timing. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten tablet.

What should I do if I overdose?

Tofacitinib - Handling

How should I handle Tofacitinib safely?

Tofacitinib - Storage

How should I store Tofacitinib?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#Store at room temperature;#

How should I dispose of Tofacitinib safely?

Tofacitinib - Additional Information

If you have further questions about Tofacitinib, do contact your doctor / pharmacist or specialty nurse.

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