"Nov. 6, 2012 -- The FDA has approved Pfizer's Xeljanz (tofacitinib), a first-of-its-kind treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Xeljanz is approved for use by patients not helped by methotrexate, the usual first treatment for RA. It's a "...
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- The potential for increased risk of birth defects should be discussed with female patients of childbearing potential. It is recommended that physicians advise women that they may be at increased risk of having a child with birth defects if they are pregnant when taking ARAVA, become pregnant while taking ARAVA, or do not wait to become pregnant until they have stopped taking ARAVA and followed the drug elimination procedure (as described in WARNINGS – Use In Women of Childbearing Potential – Drug Elimination Procedure).
- Patients should be advised of the possibility of rare, serious skin reactions. Patients should be instructed to inform their physicians promptly if they develop a skin rash or mucous membrane lesions.
- Patients should be advised of the potential hepatotoxic effects of ARAVA and of the need for monitoring liver enzymes. Patients should be instructed to notify their physicians if they develop symptoms such as unusual tiredness, abdominal pain or jaundice.
- Patients should be advised that they may develop a lowering of their blood counts and should have frequent hematologic monitoring. This is particularly important for patients who are receiving other immunosuppressive therapy concurrently with ARAVA, who have recently discontinued such therapy before starting treatment with ARAVA, or who have had a history of a significant hematologic abnormality. Patients should be instructed to notify their physicians promptly if they notice symptoms of pancytopenia (such as easy bruising or bleeding, recurrent infections, fever, paleness or unusual tiredness).
- Patients should be informed about the early warning signs of interstitial lung disease and asked to contact their physician as soon as possible if these symptoms appear or worsen during therapy.
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/30/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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