Using tofacitinib may decrease your ability to fight infection and increase the risk that you will get a serious infection, including severe fungal, bacterial, or viral infections that spread through the body. These infections may need to be treated in a hospital and may cause death. Tell your doctor if you often get any type of infection or if you think you may have any type of infection now. This includes minor infections (such as open cuts or sores), infections that come and go (such as cold sores), and chronic infections that do not go away. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a lung disease, or any other condition that affects your immune system. You should also tell your doctor if you live or have ever lived in areas such as the Ohio or Mississippi river valleys where severe fungal infections are more common. Ask your doctor if you are not sure if these infections are common in your area. Tell your doctor if you are taking medications that decrease the activity of the immune system such as the following: abatacept (Orencia); adalimumab (Humira); anakinra (Kineret); azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran); certolizumab (Cimzia); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); etanercept (Enbrel); golimumab (Simponi); infliximab (Remicade); methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, Trexall); rituximab (Rituxan); steroids including dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisolone (Prelone), and prednisone (Rayos); tacrolimus (Astagraf, Envarsus XR, Prograf); and tocilizumab (Actemra).
Your doctor will monitor you for signs of infection during and after your treatment. If you have any of the following symptoms before you begin your treatment or if you experience any of the following symptoms during or shortly after your treatment, call your doctor immediately: fever; sweating; chills; muscle aches; painful or difficult swallowing; cough; shortness of breath; weight loss; warm, red, or painful skin; painful rash; headache, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness, confusion; frequent, painful, or burning feeling during urination; stomach pain; diarrhea; or excessive tiredness.
You may already be infected with tuberculosis (TB; a serious lung infection) but not have any symptoms of the disease. In this case, using tofacitinib may make your infection more serious and cause you to develop symptoms. Your doctor will perform a skin test to see if you have an inactive TB infection before you begin your treatment with tofacitinib. If necessary, your doctor will give you medication to treat this infection before you start using tofacitinib. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had TB, if you have lived in or visited a country where TB is common, or if you have been around someone who has TB. If you have any of the following symptoms of TB, or if you develop any of these symptoms during your treatment, call your doctor immediately: cough, coughing up bloody mucus, weight loss, loss of muscle tone, or fever.
Taking tofacitinib may increase the risk that you will develop a lymphoma (cancer that begins in the blood cells that fight infection) or other types of cancers. Some people who took tofacitinib with other medications after they had a kidney transplant developed a condition that caused their bodies to produce too many white blood cells. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any type of cancer or have had a kidney transplant.
Taking tofacitinib may increase the risk of life-threatening blood clots. Tell your doctor if you are 50 years of age or older, or if you have rheumatoid arthritis or heart or blood vessel disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms stop taking tofacitinib and call your doctor right away: sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pain, swelling of a leg or arm, leg pain, redness, discoloration, or warmth in the legs or arms.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with tofacitinib and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website ( Web Site) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Tofacitinib is used alone or with other medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis (condition in which the body attacks its own joints causing pain, swelling, and loss of function) in people who did not respond to methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, Trexall). It is also used along with methotrexate or certain similar medications to treat psoriatic arthritis (a condition that causes joint pain and swelling and scales on the skin) in people who did not respond to these medications alone. Tofacitinib is used to treat ulcerative colitis (a condition which causes swelling and sores in the lining of the colon [large intestine] and rectum) in people who did not respond to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor medications. Tofacitinib is in a class of medications called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. It works by decreasing the activity of the immune system.
Tofacitinib comes as a tablet and as an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. For treatment of ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, or psoriatic arthritis, the tablet is usually taken with or without food twice a day . For treatment of rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, the extended-release tablet is usually taken with or without food once daily . Take tofacitinib at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take tofacitinib exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
Your doctor may need to decrease your dose or stop your treatment if you experience certain severe side effects. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment.
Tofacitinib may help control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take tofacitinib even if you feel well. Do not stop taking tofacitinib without talking to your doctor.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking tofacitinib,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Tofacitinib may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
Tofacitinib may cause an increase in your blood cholesterol levels. Your doctor will order tests to monitor your cholesterol levels during your treatment with tofacitinib. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
Tofacitinib may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests before and during your treatment to check your body's response to tofacitinib.
If you are taking the extended-release tablets you may notice something that looks like a tablet in your bowel movement. This is just the empty tablet shell, and this does not mean that you did not get your full dose of medication.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: November 15, 2019.