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What should I know about Jakafi before taking it?

Before taking Jakafi (ruxolitinib), you should know what it is, why it is being prescribed to you, and what you can expect from taking it. Jakafi is the first drug approved to treat the rare bone marrow disease myelofibrosis, which causes bone marrow to be replaced by scar tissue. It's a pill that helps decrease scarring in the bone marrow and restore normal blood and immune system processes.

Possible side effects of Jakafi are low blood cell counts, dizziness, headaches and infection.

Before you start Jakafi, you should tell your doctor if you have an infection or have had liver or kidney problems, or are on dialysis. You should also tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems or if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Tell your doctor about all your medications (prescription or non-prescription) and dietary supplements, if you take any. It's especially important to tell your doctor about anything you take for fungal infections, bacterial infections or human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

Tell your doctor if you have any unusual bleeding, bruising, fever or shortness of breath, or if you tire easily. Those may be signs of low blood cell counts.

Jakafi can increase the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers, such as squamous cell or basal cell carcinomas. Check your skin regularly and tell your doctor if you develop any new or changing spots, and tell your doctor if you've had any skin cancers previously. 

You're also at increased risk for developing an infection while taking the drug. Report symptoms of infection, such as chills, fever, aches, nausea, vomiting, weakness, or painful skin rash or blisters to your doctor.

Your doctor will perform blood tests before you begin and while you're taking the drug, to ensure that you have a healthy blood cell count.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.