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Tofacitinib has emerged as a useful drug for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC). There is an unmet need for cost-effective, non-immunogenic drugs with a safe adverse effect profile to treat patients with ulcerative colitis. In the present review, we evaluate the available literature to inform the appropriate positioning of tofacitinib in the current drug landscape and identify subsets where its use should be done with caution. Tofacitinib is helpful in the treatment of patients where the standard conventional or biological therapies have failed or were not tolerated. With lower costs of the generic drug than the biologicals (or biosimilars), it could be an important therapy in low- to middle-income countries. The risk of infections, especially Herpes Zoster and tuberculosis, needs to be addressed before initiation. Tofacitinib should be avoided in patients with venous thromboembolism and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Due to limited evidence, the use is not recommended in pregnancy, while it should be used with caution in elderly citizens. Future trials should look into the head-to-head comparison of tofacitinib with biologicals. The role of tofacitinib in acute severe colitis needs evaluation with comparative trials with current standards of care.


Shubhra Mishra, Anuraag Jena, Rinkalben Kakadiya, Vishal Sharma, Vineet Ahuja. Positioning of tofacitinib in treatment of ulcerative colitis: a global perspective. Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology. 2022 Aug;16(8):737-752

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PMID: 35875997

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