JAK inhibitor

What are JAK inhibitors? JAK inhibitors are a class of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that function by modulating the immune system. They block the cellular signaling pathway activated by the Janus kinase enzymes, inhibiting the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines.

Indications for JAK inhibitor use

Janus Kinases not only mediate cell signaling within the immune system, they are also involved in non-immune cell functions, such as cell growth and differentiation. This has made JAK-inhibitors an attractive target in the treatment of several conditions:

  • Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, IBD, graft-vs-host disease, alopecia areata, and atopic dermatitis.
  • Myeloproliferative disorders, such as polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis.
  • COVID- 19

Side effects of JAK inhibitors

Given the essential role of Janus kinases in normal immune function, JAK inhibitors may be associated with some serious adverse effects, including:

  • Infections, such as herpes zoster and tuberculosis
  • Neutropenia
  • Anemia
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of cancer

Source: Spinelli, F. R., Meylan, F., O’Shea, J. J., & Gadina, M. (2021). JAK inhibitors: Ten years after. European Journal of Immunology, 51(7), 1615–1627. https://doi.org/10.1002/eji.202048922