Olumiant (baricitinib)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2023

Olumiant® (baricitinib) is a drug 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.1

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.1

How does Olumiant work?

JAK is a type of chemical messenger that is believed to play a role in inflammation. In conditions like RA, the inflammatory response is overactive. JAK inhibitors like Olumiant can reduce inflammation and may stop joint damage that can be a long-term result of RA.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Olumiant include:1

  • Common colds
  • Sinus infections
  • Nausea
  • Cold sores
  • Shingles

Olumiant has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has this warning because it may increase the risk of:1

  • Serious infections leading to hospitalization or death
  • Death in people with RA who are 50 years of age and older and who also have heart problems
  • Cancer, especially in people who smoke or used to smoke
  • Heart attacks and stroke in people with RA who are 50 years of age and older
  • Blood clots and pulmonary embolism

Your doctor should closely monitor you for signs of infection during and after treatment with Olumiant. Contact your doctor right away if you have signs of an infection, such as:1

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea or stomach pain
  • Cough
  • Weight loss

These are not all the possible side effects of Olumiant. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Olumiant. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Olumiant.

Other things to know

Before starting treatment with Olumiant, your doctor should:1

  • Test you for tuberculosis (TB). You should not take Olumiant if you have active TB.
  • Test you for hepatitis C.
  • Monitor your complete blood count.
  • Test your liver and kidney function.

You should avoid getting certain vaccines while taking Olumiant. Talk to your doctor about which vaccines you need and which vaccines you should avoid.1

There is not enough data to know if Olumiant is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding before taking Olumiant.1

Before taking Olumiant, tell your doctor if you:1

  • Have an infection
  • Are a current or past smoker
  • Have had a heart attack, other heart problems, or stroke
  • Have kidney or liver problems
  • Have low red or white blood cell counts
  • Have recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine
  • Have any stomach pain or have been diagnosed with diverticulitis or ulcers

Olumiant can interact with other medicines. Before beginning treatment for RA, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.1

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Olumiant.

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