What is this medication for?

Baricitinib is used for the treatment of moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) when conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (csDMARDs) are not effective.

It works to reduce inflammation, thereby reducing symptoms of joint pain and swelling, and improving quality of life. Baricitinib does not work immediately and it may take weeks to months before you notice any improvement in symptoms.

Baricitinib is also used for the treatment of severe eczema and other medical conditions.

How should I take/use this medication?

Your doctor will prescribe a suitable dose for you.

You may take the medication with or without food. Swallow the tablet whole, do not crush or chew.

Do not stop taking your medication without checking with your healthcare professional.

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What precautions should I take?

  • Avoid crowded places and direct contact with any sick person
  • Do not consume raw or undercooked food

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
    • The medication should be stopped for at least 1 month prior to conceiving.
    • If you are a woman of childbearing age, you should use effective birth control during treatment on Baricitinib and for at least one week (ideally 1 month) after the last dose.
    • Breastfeeding is not recommended while on this medication
  • You have a history of:
    • Kidney or liver or stomach conditions
    • Tuberculosis
    • Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
    • Cancer
  • You have infections or low blood counts.
  • You are planning to receive any vaccines and you must avoid any live vaccinations.

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

Common side effects of Baricitinib includes:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
    • Take the medication with or after food if you experience nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, severe sore throat
  • Urinary tract infections

Inform your doctor if any side effect persists, if you are unable to tolerate them or if the side effects become serious.

Baricitinib may reduce your body’s ability to fight against infection. You should consult a doctor immediately if you develop a fever or feel unwell. Inform the doctor whom you consult that you are taking Baricitinib as the medication may need to be stopped while you are having an infection.

You may need to have regular blood tests to monitor your blood counts and cholesterol levels when on Baricitinib.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

Other rare but serious effects that may occur include:

  • Signs of liver problems like dark or tea-coloured urine, yellowing of the eye whites or skin
  • Signs of stomach ulcer like black tarry stools, vomiting coffee ground material, severe stomach pain.
  • Signs of blood clots in the lung, heart or legs like shortness of breath, sudden onset of leg swelling or severe chest pain.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your healthcare professional immediately.

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication?

Avoid eating raw, undercooked or half-cooked food.

Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other medications as they may interact with Baricitinib. These include:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Traditional or herbal remedies

Pneumococcal, influenza (flu) and Hepatitis B vaccinations are safe and may be given if required. Avoid live vaccines such as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), OPV (oral polio vaccine), yellow fever or BCG (tuberculosis). Discuss with your doctor before receiving any vaccines.

How should I store this medication?

Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep this medication away from children.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing it into the rubbish chute or bin.


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