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Updated June 2023
This information sheet was written by the Australian Rheumatology Association to help you understand the medication that has been prescribed for you. It includes important information about:
• how you should take your medication
• what are the possible side effects
• what tests you will have to monitor your condition
• other precautions you should take while you are taking baricitinib.
Please read it carefully and discuss it with your doctor. This information sheet is not intended to replace the product information or discussion with your rheumatologist.
Baricitinib (brand name Olumiant®) is a tablet that belongs to a class of medications called Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors. JAK inhibitors work by blocking signals involved in inflammation. Blocking these signals in rheumatoid arthritis reduces pain, stiffness, swelling and damage in the joints.
Baricitinib should only be used if no suitable treatment alternatives are available in patients:
Baricitinib is taken by mouth in tablet form. The tablet should be swallowed whole do not crush, break or chew the tablet.
The usual dose for adults with rheumatoid arthritis is 2mg or 4mg taken once a day.
This medication may be used alone or with other arthritis medications including:
There may be some instances where these medications may not be right for you, always check with your doctor prior to taking any of these medications.
If you are taking probenecid tell your doctor as you may need a lower dose of baricitinib.
Baricitinib cannot be used with other biologic DMARDs or targeted synthetic DMARDS (such as upadacitinib, tofacitinib, etanercept and adalimumab).
You might experience side effects with your treatment. Tell your doctor if you notice side effects that you think are caused by this medication. Many side effects disappear when baricitinib treatment is stopped.
Most common side effects
Less common or rare side effects
If you have an active infection of any kind treatment with baricitinib will not be started until the infection is treated successfully.
People with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions have an increased risk of cardiovascular disorders. Recent reports have associated this medication and other JAK inhibitors with an increased risk of heart related events. Ensure your doctor is aware of any pre-existing risk factors (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking status) so they can be appropriately managed.
Use with other medications
Some medications may not be used with baricitinib as it may change their effectiveness and how well baricitinib may work for you.
Medications that may change how baricitinib works include:
This list is not exhaustive. You should inform your doctor and pharmacist of all of the medications you are taking or plan to take. This includes over the counter or herbal/naturopathic medications to see if these affect baricitinib.
Use with alcohol
You may drink alcohol while taking baricitinib. However, if you are also taking methotrexate you should be cautious about how much alcohol you drink.
If you are taking baricitinib you should not be immunised with ‘live’ vaccines such as:
Talk with your rheumatologist before receiving any vaccines.
Pneumococcal vaccines and the yearly seasonal flu vaccinations are encouraged.
For more information on vaccination including the COVID-19 vaccination click here.
If you require surgery for any reason, treatment with baricitinib should be stopped one week before surgery. It will be restarted again after the operation at a time agreed by your surgeon and rheumatologist.
Use in pregnancy and when breastfeeding
More detailed information is available here