If you will be using this medicine for a long time, it is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if this medicine is working properly and to decide whether you should continue to use it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
You will need to have a skin test for tuberculosis before you start using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your home has ever had a positive reaction to a tuberculosis skin test.
Your body's ability to fight infection may be reduced while you are using tofacitinib. It is very important that you call your doctor at the first sign of any infection. Check with your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms while using this medicine: fever, chills, cough, flu-like symptoms, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Using this medicine may increase your risk of getting skin cancer or cancer of the lymph system (lymphoma). Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about this risk.
Tofacitinib can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection:
- If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
- Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
- Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
- Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
- Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
- Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.
While you are being treated with tofacitinib, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor's approval. Live virus vaccines should not be given to patients who are using tofacitinib. Your vaccinations need to be current before you begin using this medicine. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any questions about this.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.