(toe-fa-sye-ti-nib) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: antirheumatics
Pharmacologic: kinase inhibitors
Pregnancy Category: C


Treatment of adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response/intolerance to methotrexate.Can be used as monotherapy or with methotrexate or other nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).Not be used with biologic DMARDs or potent immunosuppressants including azathioprine and cyclosporine.


Acts as a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor. Some results of inhibition include decreased hematopoiesis and immune cell function. Decreases circulating killer cells, increases in B cell count and decreases serum C-reactive protein (CRP).

Therapeutic effects

Improvement in clinical and symptomatic parameters of rheumatoid arthritis.


Absorption: Well absorbed following oral administration (74%).
Distribution: Distributes equally between red blood cells and plasma.
Metabolism and Excretion: 70% metabolized by the liver (primarily CYP3A4 with some contribution from CYP2C19). 30% renal excretion of the parent drug.
Half-life: 3 hr.

Time/action profile (clinical improvement)

POwithin 2 wk3 mounknown


Contraindicated in: Active infection;Administration of live vaccines;Severe hepatic impairment;Lymphocyte count <500 cells/mm3, absolute neutrophil count (ANC) <1000 cells/mm3, or hemoglobin levels< 9 g/dL; Lactation: Should not be used in nursing mothers.
Use Cautiously in: Patients with risk of gastric perforation; Geriatric: Infection risk may be ↑; Obstetric: Use during pregnancy only if potential benefit justifies potential fetal risk; Pediatric: Safety and effectiveness not established.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • fatigue
  • headache
  • insomnia


  • peripheral edema


  • gastric perforation (life-threatening)
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • dyspepsia
  • gastritis
  • ↑ liver enzymes
  • vomiting


  • ↑ serum creatinine


  • erythema
  • pruritus
  • rash

Fluid and Electrolyte

  • dehydration


  • ↑ lipids


  • arthralgia
  • joint swelling
  • musculoskeletal pain
  • tendonitis


  • paresthesia


  • serious infections including tuberculosis, invasive fungal infections, bacterial, viral, and other infections due to opportunistic pathogens
  • ↑ risk of malignancy
  • fever


Drug-Drug interaction

May ↑ risk of adverse reactions and ↓ antibody response to live vaccines (avoid concurrent use).Blood levels and effects may be ↑ by strong CYP3A4 inhibitors including ketoconazole or moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors/strong CYP2C19 inhibitors including fluconazole ; dose ↓ recommended.Blood levels and effectiveness may be ↓ strong CYP3A4 inducers including rifampin.↑ risk of immunosuppression when used concurrently with other potent immunosuppressants including azathioprine, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, antineoplastics or radiation therapy.


Oral (Adults) 5 mg twice daily; Concurrent use of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors or moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors/strong CYP2C19 inhibitors—5 mg once daily; dosage adjustments recommended for neutropenia, anemia or infection.

Renal Impairment

Oral (Adults) Moderate to severe renal impairment—5 mg once daily.

Hepatic Impairment

Oral (Adults) Moderate hepatic impairment—5 mg once daily.


Tablets: 5 mg

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess pain and range of motion before and periodically during therapy.
  • Assess for signs of infection (fever, dyspnea, flu-like symptoms, frequent or painful urination, redness or swelling at the site of a wound), including tuberculosis, prior to and periodically during therapy. Tofacitinib is contraindicated in patients with active infection. New infections should be monitored closely; most common are upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, and urinary tract infections. Infections may be fatal, especially in patients taking immunosuppressive therapy.
  • Assess for signs and symptoms of systemic fungal infections (fever, malaise, weight loss, sweats, cough, dypsnea, pulmonary infiltrates, serious systemic illness with or without concomitant shock). Ascertain if patient lives in or has traveled to areas of endemic mycoses. Consider empiric antifungal treatment for patients at risk of histoplasmosis and other invasive fungal infections until the pathogens are identified. Consult with an infectious diseases specialist. Consider stopping tofacitinib until the infection has been diagnosed and adequately treated.
  • Lab Test Considerations: Monitor CBC prior to and periodically during therapy. Do not initiate tofacitinib in patients with lymphocyte count <500 cells/mm3, an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) <1000 cells/mm3, or who have hemoglobin level <9 g/dL.
    • Monitor lymphocyte count at baseline and every 3 mo thereafter. If lymphocyte count ≥500 cells/mm3 maintain dose. If lymphocyte count <500 cells/mm3and confirmed by repeat testing, discontinue tofacitinib.
    • Monitor neutrophil count at baseline, after 4–8 wks of therapy, and every 3 mo thereafter. If ANC >1000 cells/mm3, maintain dose. If ANC 500–1000 cells/mm3, for persistent decreases in this range, interrupt dosing until ANC is >1000 cells/mm3. If ANC <500 cells/mm3 and confirmed by repeat testing, discontinue tofacitinib.
    • Monitor hemoglobin at baseline, after 4–8 wks of therapy, and every 3 mo thereafter. If hemoglobin ≤2 g/dL decrease and ≥9.0 g/dL and confirmed by repeat testing, maintain dose. If hemoglobin >2 dL decrease and <8.0 g/dL, interrupt administration of tofacitinib until hemoglobin values have normalized.
    • Monitor liver enzymes prior to and periodically during therapy.
    • Monitor total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol 4–8 wks following initiation of therapy.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Impaired physical mobility (Indications)
Risk for infection (Adverse Reactions)


  • Administer a tuberculin skin test prior to administration of tofacitinib. Patients with active latent TB should be treated for TB prior to therapy.
    • Immunizations should be current prior to initiating therapy. Patients on tofacitinib should not receive live vaccines.
  • Oral: Administer twice daily without regard to food.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to take tofacitinib as directed. Advise patient to read Medication Guide before starting and with each Rx refill in case of changes.
  • Caution patient to notify health care professional immediately if signs of infection (fever, sweating, chills, muscle aches, cough, shortness of breath, blood in phlegm, weight loss, warm, red, or painful skin or sores, diarrhea or stomach pain, burning on urination or urinating more often than normal, feeling very tired) or stomach or intestinal perforation (fever, stomach-area pain that does not go away, change in bowel habits) occur.
  • Advise patient to notify health care professional of all Rx or OTC medications, vitamins, or herbal products being taken and to consult with health care professional before taking other medications.
  • Instruct patient to notify health care professional of medication regimen prior to treatment or surgery.
  • Inform patient of increased risk of lymphoma and other cancers.
  • Advise female patients to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected or if breast feeding. Encourage patient to contact the pregnancy registry by calling 1-877-311-8972 if pregnant.
  • Emphasize the importance of follow-up lab tests to monitor for adverse reactions.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Decreased pain and swelling with improved physical functioning and decreased rate of joint destruction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
References in periodicals archive ?
The 15-member US FDA committee has voted unanimously in favour of the extension of the use of tofacitinib 10mg twice-daily from 8 to 16 weeks of induction in adult patients who have not achieved adequate therapeutic benefit by week eight.
9,895,301 covers the use of tofacitinib for inducing hair growth and for treating hair loss disorders such as alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia, otherwise known as male/female pattern hair loss.
If approved, tofacitinib will be the first Janus kinase inhibitor and the first oral therapy for adults living with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis.
Discussion after the treatment panel included testimonials from patients who reported successful treatment with tofacitinib (Xeljanz), a Janus kinase inhibitor approved for rheumatoid arthritis, which is not approved for treatment of alopecia.
New research indicated that the shingles vaccine elicits robust immune responses in patients when administered several weeks prior to the start of treatment with the arthritis drug tofacitinib.
If a patient was put on tofacitinib and did not respond, we can see whether we could have predicted that beforehand.
Molecular inhibitors are relatively new in RA therapeutics such as tocilizumab, tofacitinib and baricitinib.
Of a case series of 13 pediatric patients who had alopecia areata (AA) and were treated with tofacitinib, 9 (68%) experienced "clinically significant" regrowth of hair, with mean improvement in the Severity of Alopecia Tool (SALT) score of 88% for these responders.
Keywords: tofacitinib, alopecia universalis, Janus kinase inhibitor
For the aspect of pharmaceutical research and development, Shanghai Pharmaceuticals achieved 10 clinical trial approvals for 4 kinds of medicines, namely Vortioxetine Hydrobromide (API & Tablets), Tofacitinib Citrate (API & Tablets), Cabazitaxel (API & Injection) and Olanzapine and Fluoxetine Hydrochloride Capsule.
Tofacitinib has been approved for use in some countries such as America and Japan already, but is not yet available in Europe, until more clinical trials such as this have been completed.