Jakafi®

Posted on October 31st, 2012 by

Class: Biological Therapy

Generic Name:  Ruxolitinib
Trade Name:  Jakafi®

How is this drug used? Jakafi is used to treat intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis (a disorder of the bone marrow) and polycythemia vera with patients who have had inadequate response to or are intolerant of hydroxyurea.

What is the mechanism of action? Jakafi inhibits two enzymes—JAK1 and JAK2—that contribute to myelofibrosis.

How is Jakafi given (administered)? Jakafi is administered orally (by mouth) in the form of a tablet.

How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with Jakafi.  Typically, blood will be drawn to check levels of blood cells. Patients may also undergo physical examinations or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy.

What are the most common side effects of treatment with Jakafi?

  • Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)
  • Bruising
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

What are some of the potentially serious side effects of treatment with Jakafi?

  • Low blood cell counts
  • Infection

This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed here. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.

Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.

What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?

  • Pay careful attention to the physician’s instructions and inform the physician of any side effects.
  • Maintain adequate rest and nutrition.
  • If possible, avoid large crowds or people who are sick or not feeling well
  • Wash hands often to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid activities that may cause injury or bruising.
  • Do not drink grapefruit juice while taking Jakafi.

Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?

  • Patients should inform their physician of any other medication they are taking (whether prescription or over-the-counter, including vitamins, herbs, etc.) as they may interact with treatment. Patients should be sure to tell their doctor if they’re taking medication for fungal infections, bacterial infections, or HIV-AIDS.
  • Patients should inform their physician if they are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a family in the near future.
  • Patients should inform their physician about all other medical conditions, including infections and liver or kidney problems.
  • Patients should inform their physician if they are on dialysis.

When should patients notify their physician? Tell your doctor if you experience any side effects that bother you or don’t go away. Also tell your doctor if you notice signs of low blood cell counts (such as unusual bleeding, bruising, fatigue, shortness of breath, or fever) or signs of infection (such as chills, aches, fever, nausea, vomiting, weakness, or painful skin rash or blisters).

What is a package insert? A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers.  A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.

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Tags: Biological Therapy, Drug Dictionary, J

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