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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Feb 2023 - 17 Feb 2023


Human Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Feb 15

Dermatol Ther (Heidelb)


A Review on the Safety of Using JAK Inhibitors in Dermatology: Clinical and Laboratory Monitoring.


Samuel C, Cornman H, Kambala A, Kwatra SG


Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors are disease-modifying agents with efficacy in treating a spectrum of burdensome dermatologic conditions. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently placed a black box warning on this class of medications due to safety concerns based on data from studies investigating tofacitinib in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Here we provide an overview of the timeline of FDA approval of JAK inhibitors in dermatology. We also discuss the available safety profiles of approved oral JAK1 inhibitors, namely abrocitinib and upadacitinib, oral baricitinib, a JAK1/2 inhibitor, deucravacitinib, a Tyk2 inhibitor, and the topical JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in dermatology patients. Additionally, we offer suggestions for initial screening and laboratory monitoring for patients receiving JAK inhibitors. We found that the rates of venous thromboembolism reported in trials ranged from no events to 0.1-0.5% in dermatology-specific phase 3 clinical trials compared with no events in the placebo. The rates of cardiovascular events ranged from no events to 0.4-1.2% compared with no events to 0.5-1.2% in the placebo. The rates of serious infections were 0.4-4.8% compared with no events to 0.5-1.3% in the placebo. The rates of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) ranged from no event to 0.6-0.9% compared with no events in the placebo. The rates of non-NMSC ranged from no event to 0.2-0.7% compared with no event to 0.6% in the placebo. Most patients who developed these adverse events had risk factors for the specific event. The most common adverse events of oral JAK inhibitors included upper respiratory infections, nasopharyngitis, nausea, headache, and acne. Dermatologists should consider patients’ baseline risk factors for developing serious complications when prescribing oral JAK inhibitors.