Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis

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.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Tofacitinib is used for moderate-to-severely active rheumatoid arthritis in adults who have had an insufficient response or cannot tolerate methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall).

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:

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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/13/2015

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