Reports of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients on Xeljanz Experiencing Secondary Neurological Adverse Events
(Posted by Tom Lamb at Drug Injury Watch)
As we have written about previously, according to the FDA, some of the generally recognized Xeljanz side effects and Xeljanz adverse events are:
Myocardial Infarction (MI)
Strokes — Ischemic / due to a blood clot
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
Now, as reported in this Letters to the Editor item, "Tofacitinib and Risk of Peripheral Neuropathy? Experience of 2 Cases in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis", patients treated with Xeljanz (tofacitinib) for their rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may be at risk of neurological adverse events, such as peripheral neuropathy. That item about neurological adverse events associated with Xeljanz use was published in the March 2021 edition of JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.
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It was a September 23, 2021 article, "Report: 2 Patients With RA Experienced Peripheral Neuropathy on JAK Inhibitor", published online by The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC), however, which just recently brought this possible new Xeljanz drug safety issue to our attention. From that recent AJMC article we get this overview of those two Xeljanz - peripheral neuropathy case reports:
The first patient in the report, a 37-year-old woman, had a history of 6 years of active seropositive RA. Due to her active disease and severe radiographic damage to her hips, hands, and knees, she was prescribed [Xeljanz (tofacitinib)].
“After 2 weeks of use, although pain and stiffness improved, she started complaining of limb dysesthesias and decrease in muscle strength causing legs motor deficit but preserved osteotendinous reflexes,” Tobón and colleagues said.
Non-superior/inferior motor neuron compromise was also present, and mixed polyneuropathy was confirmed by electromyography and nerve conduction studies, the authors said. The patient’s cerebrospinal fluid was normal, and other potential causes were ruled out.
The patient eventually progressed to bed confinement. Her [Xeljanz (tofacitinib)] was discontinued; she was instead prescribed tocilizumab (Actemra) to treat her joint condition. She was able to walk again within a month.
In the second case, a 59-year-old patient with a history of benign renal tumor back in 2012 and unilateral nephrectomy was confirmed to have RA. Her mild renal dysfunction contra-indicated methotrexate, and so she was given chloroquine. When she failed to respond to that, she was given [Xeljanz (tofacitinib)]. Within a month, she was experiencing muscle weakness and decreased sensitivity in her lower limbs, Tobón and colleagues said.
After additional tests, she was given intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), which led to clinical improvement. She was thus continued on [Xeljanz (tofacitinib)] with close monitoring, for almost 2 years, the authors said.
We will continue to monitor the medical literature for developments regarding serious Xeljanz side effects and Xeljanz adverse events, including any additional Xeljanz - peripheral neuropathy case reports.
At the present time, our law firm is investigating Xeljanz lawsuits filed against Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company responsible for Xeljanz, for patients with cases of Xeljanz causing heart problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolism (PE), and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), as well as Xeljanz causing lymphoma, lung cancer, and other cancers. Please feel free to contact us if we can help you or someone you know with a Xeljanz drug injury case.
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