Olumiant® (baricitinib)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2022 | Last updated: April 2022

Olumiant is a medication approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in people who have not had an adequate response to one or more anti-TNF (tumor necrosis factor) therapies. Olumiant is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, a type of target-specific DMARD.

What are the ingredients in Olumiant?

The active ingredient in Olumiant is baricitinib.

How does Olumiant work?

JAK is a type of cytokine, or chemical messenger, that is believed to play a role in inflammation. In conditions like RA, the inflammatory response is overactive, and JAK inhibitors like Olumiant can reduce the inflammation and may stop joint damage that can be a long-term consequence of RA.

What are the possible side effects of Olumiant?

Common side effects experienced by patients in clinical trials receiving Olumiant were upper respiratory tract infections, nausea, herpes simplex and herpes zoster.

Other side effects seen with Olumiant include gastrointestinal perforations and changes in blood work (white blood cell counts, red blood cell counts, blood lipids, and liver enzymes). These are not all the possible side effects of Olumiant. Patients should talk to their doctor about what to expect with treatment with Olumiant.

In clinical trials, several potentially serious side effects were associated with the use of Olumiant. FDA black box warning of side effects include serious infections, malignancies (lymphoma and other cancers), and blood clots (thrombosis). Serious infections may be viral, bacterial, or fungal, and may require hospitalization. Some infections may lead to death. Blood clots may also be fatal and include deep venous thrombosis (blood clot in a deep vein like the legs), pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), and arterial thrombosis (blood clot in an artery, which could cause a heart attack or stroke). For more information on adverse effects, see the FDA black box warning for Olumiant.

Things to know about Olumiant

Before starting treatment with Olumiant, patients should be tested for tuberculosis (TB). Olumiant should not be given to patients with active TB.

If a serious infection occurs while taking Olumiant, treatment with Olumiant should be stopped until the infection is under control.

Patients should not receive live vaccines while taking Olumiant.

Because Olumiant may change certain components in the blood, patients should receive regular screenings.

Before starting treatment with Olumiant, patients should talk to their doctor about current medications being taken as well as their existing health conditions, especially if they have any infections, liver disease, a history of diverticulitis, or kidney disease. Olumiant is not recommended for people with severe liver impairment or moderate to severe kidney impairment.

It is not known whether it is safe to take Olumiant while pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or who plan to become pregnant or breastfeed should talk to their doctor about the risks.

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