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EMA: Stop high-dose Xeljanz in certain patients


The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency has recommended that patients at high risk of blood clots in the lungs should not be prescribed the 10-mg, twice-daily dose of tofacitinib (Xeljanz).

The PRAC recommendation is based on results from an ongoing study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which has shown that patients receiving the 10-mg, twice-daily dose – twice the approved dose for RA – are at an increased risk of blood clots in the lungs and death.

Patients at risk include those with heart failure, cancer, inherited blood clotting disorders, or a history of blood clots, as well as patients who take combined hormonal contraceptives, are receiving hormone replacement therapy, or are undergoing major surgery. In addition, age, obesity, smoking, or immobilization should also be considered as risk factors.

In Europe, tofacitinib is indicated for the treatment of RA, psoriatic arthritis, and severe ulcerative colitis. Because the 10-mg dose is the only indicated treatment for ulcerative colitis, patients with the disease and who are at high risk should not be started on tofacitinib, and patients who are already taking the drug should be switched to a different treatment.

β€œThe new recommendations are temporary and follow previous PRAC advice not to exceed the recommended 5-mg, twice-daily dose when treating rheumatoid arthritis. The PRAC will now carry out a review of all available evidence, and updated guidance will be provided to patients and healthcare professionals once the review is concluded,” according to the European Medicines Agency.

Find the full press release on the European Medicines Agency website.

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