Baricitinib

Taking baricitinib 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), hepatitis B virus infection (HBV; an ongoing liver infection), hepatitis C virus infection (HCV: an ongoing liver infection), herpes zoster (shingles; a rash that can occur in people who have had chickenpox in the past), 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. Tell your doctor if you are taking medications that decrease the activity of the immune system.

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; cough; shortness of breath; weight loss; warm, red, or painful skin; sores on the skin; frequent, painful, or burning feeling during urination; 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, taking baricitinib 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 and during your treatment with baricitinib. If necessary, your doctor will give you medication to treat this infection before you start taking baricitinib. 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.

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Taking baricitinib may increase the risk that you will develop a lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells that fight infection) or other types of cancers, including lung cancer and skin cancer. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any type of cancer. Also tell your doctor if you smoke or if you have ever smoked.

Taking baricitinib may cause serious or life-threatening heart problems, such as a heart attack or stroke, or serious or life-threatening blood clot in the lungs or legs. Tell your doctor if you smoke or if you have ever smoked. Also tell your doctor if have or have ever had a heart attack or other heart problems; a stroke; a blood clot in your legs, arms, or lungs, or in the arteries; high cholesterol; high blood pressure; or diabetes. If you experience any of the following side effects during your treatment, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment: crushing chest pain or chest heaviness; pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach; breaking out in cold sweat; feeling light-headed; numbness or weakness in face, arm, or legs; slow or difficult speech; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; cough; or pain, warmth, redness, swelling, or leg tenderness.

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain tests to check your body’s response to baricitinib.

Patients, too, are unhappy with the care they receive during those brief interactions with their doctors. Healthcare communications company West Corporation reported that 25% of patients don’t feel that their provider cares about them as an individual and nearly 20% aren’t convinced their doctor is focused on improving their health – even though 93% of doctors strongly agree that patient satisfaction is important.

Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with baricitinib 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 (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm) or the manufacturer’s website to obtain the Medication Guide.

Talk to your doctor about the risk(s) of taking baricitinib.

🔔 Why is this medication prescribed?

Baricitinib 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 adults who have not responded well to one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor medication(s). It is also used for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 infection) in hospitalized adults who require supplemental oxygen, a ventilator, or who need extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO; a device that adds oxygen to the blood). Baricitinib is also used to treat alopecia areata (a condition in which the body attacks hair follicles and causes hair loss) in adults. Baricitinib is in a class of medications called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. It works by decreasing the activity of the immune system.

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🔔 How should this medicine be used?

Baricitinib comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food once daily. Take baricitinib at around the same time 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 baricitinib exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

If you are unable to swallow the tablets, you may put them into a small glass and dissolve them in approximately 2 teaspoonfuls (10 mL) of room temperature water. Swirl the contents a few times and swallow the mixture immediately. After drinking the mixture, add another 10 mL of water to the glass. Swirl the contents a few times and swallow the mixture.

Your doctor may need to temporarily or permanently stop treatment if you experience certain severe side effects. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment.