The addition of Jakafi (ruxolitinib) to the treatment paradigm of patients with polycythemia vera (PV) was a gamechanger. And while the drug has been providing promising outcomes so far, there are still some side effects that patients and providers should look out for, explained Srdan Verstovsek, M.D., Ph.D., a medical oncologist and professor in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Jakafi acts as an immune suppressor, which puts some patients at higher risk for infections. Also, the drug may increase a person’s risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma – a non-melanoma skin cancer – for patients with a history or high risk of the disease. These are concerns that patients and their health care team should be aware of and monitor closely.