GENERIC NAME: Tofacitinib citrate
BRAND NAME: Xeljanz
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Tofacitinib is an oral drug used for treating rheumatoid arthritis. It belongs to a class of drugs called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. JAKs are enzymes (proteins) that regulate chemical signaling pathways that control biologic processes such as blood formation and the immune response that causes the pain, tenderness and swelling of inflammation. JAKs are found in many cells, especially stem cells in bones and joints. Inhibition of JAKs by tofacitinib prevents inflammation and tissue destruction that is associated with the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. Tofacitinib was approved in November 2012.
Tofacitinib may be used by itself or in combination with methotrexate or other non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of tofacitinib are:
- increased cholesterol levels (for example, HDL and LDL levels),
- sore throat,
- runny nose,
- urinary tract infection,
- nasopharyngitis, and
- upper respiratory infections.
Tofacitinib carries a boxed warning of risk of developing infections that may lead to hospitalization or death.
Patients must be carefully monitored for the development of signs and symptoms of infection before and during the treatment of tofacitinib.
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.