UPADACITINIB

Published: June 8, 2022

Dear @[email protected],

Your health care team has discussed the following subject with you: upadacitinib. The brand name is RINVOQ. Here is some additional information regarding this medical therapy. Let us know if you have any questions regarding this information.

How it works:  This medication is a targeted synthetic small molecule which helps to reduce inflammation by specifically targeting parts of the immune system that play a role in inflammation in the intestine and other organs. Upadacitinib is a JAK (Janus kinase) inhibitor. JAK inhibitors are small molecules that are broken down in the gastrointestinal tract and directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines. Due to their small size, they can be carried to nearly anywhere in the body through the bloodstream to work directly on the immune system. In most cases, this medication is used by itself, with no other immunosuppressive treatments.

How it is taken: The medication is taken by mouth once a day with or without food. Do not crush, chew, or split the pill. It may take up to six to eight weeks after starting this medication to see an improvement in your symptoms, though improvement can be seen as late as four months after starting.

Possible side effects: The most common side effects in patients taking upadacitinib in the clinical trials for ulcerative colitis were headache, common cold (upper respiratory infection), and nasopharyngitis (sinus/throat infection). There have been reports of serious infections such as herpes zoster or shingles with upadacitinib. There is also a theoretical risk of perforation, though this has not been observed in the population with ulcerative colitis. If you have any side effects or you continue to have symptoms, speak to your healthcare team immediately.

Reasons to avoid this medication: Upadacitinib may cause an increase in cardiovascular events in people >50 years old with at least 1 heart disease risk factor, especially in current or former smokers. There may be a risk of blood clots while taking this medication.

Monitoring: You will require frequent laboratory monitoring while taking this therapy.

Points to remember: Before taking this medication, let your healthcare team know about other medical conditions that you may have, or other medications (even over-the-counter medications or complementary therapies) you may be taking. The best way to control your disease is by taking your medication as directed. Even when you do not have any symptoms, it is very important to continue taking your medication to prevent your disease from becoming active again. Do not alter the amount of the medication, or how frequently you take it, on your own.

Other tips: Live vaccines (especially the live shingles vaccine, Zostavax) should not be given once you have started upadacitinib. There is a non-live vaccination for shingles, Shingrix, which you could discuss further with your health care team.

For further information, please check out http://www.ibdmedicationguide.org or follow this link

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