Rinvoq side effects and how to avoid them

Rinvoq is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved medication manufactured by Abbvie Inc. “It is used to treat adults with moderate to severe…” Make sure to also add the missing period “ankylosing spondylitis. While Rinvoq is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Rinvoq include upper respiratory tract infections. Less common, but more serious side effects, can include allergic reactions.

Learn more about the side effects of Rinvoq and what you can do to avoid them.

What is Rinvoq (upadacitinib)?

The active ingredient in Rinvoq is upadacitinib, a biologic drug, classed as a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor. Upadacitinib prevents the phosphorylation and activation of STATs (signal transducers and activators of transcription).

It is used in patients above 18 years of age requiring treatment for moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis, active psoriatic arthritis, active ankylosing spondylitis, and ulcerative colitis for whom methotrexate did not work or could not be tolerated. Rinvoq is currently under review in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in severe atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Rinvoq dosage

Rinvoq is available in an oral extended-release tablet form, in the following doses: 15mg. Rinvoq may be used alone or in combination with methotrexate or other nonbiologic DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs).

Swallow Rinvoq extended-release tablets whole with a full glass of water, at the same time of day, with or without food. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablet.

If you miss a dose of Rinvoq, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and take it at the normal scheduled time.

You are advised to read the full prescribing information and medication guide provided with this medicine. Always speak with your healthcare provider for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.

Rinvoq side effects

The most common possible side effects of Rinvoq include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Nausea
  • Cough, sore throat
  • Fever, tiredness
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)
  • Low white blood cell count

Rinvoq can cause more serious side effects, including:

  • Serious Infections
  • Malignancy
  • Thrombosis
  • Gastrointestinal perforations
  • High cholesterol
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • increased risk of lymphoma (immune system cancer) and other cancers, including skin cancer
  • Allergic reactions – hives, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain, feeling faint, swelling of your lips, tongue, or throat

If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Rinvoq and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Rinvoq drug interactions

Rinvoq can interact with other medications including:

  • Antibiotics – clarithromycin
  • Statins – atorvastatin
  • Treatments for high blood pressure – lisinopril
  • NSAIDs – meloxicam
  • Methotrexate
  • Anticonvulsants – phenytoin
  • Corticosteroids – prednisone
  • Immunosuppresants – azathioprine, cyclosporine

Before taking Rinvoq, be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking to ensure they are safe to take at the same time.

Rinvoq warnings & precautions

Don’t take Rinvoq if you:

  • Have had an allergic reaction to the active ingredient Rinvoq
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Rinvoq

Talk to your doctor before taking Rinvoq if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Rinvoq
  • Are being treated for an active infection, have an infection that won’t go away or keeps coming back, or have symptoms of an infection such sweating, chills, shortness of breath, feeling tired, diarrhea, stomach pain, or weight loss
  • Have tuberculosis or have been in close contact with someone with tuberculosis
  • Have a history of blood clots, such as a deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism
  • Have had any type of cancer
  • Have had hepatitis B or C, or shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Have blood clots in the veins of your legs or lungs
  • Have diverticulitis, or ulcers in your stomach or intestines
  • Have liver problems
  • Have low blood cell counts
  • Have diabetes
  • Have chronic lung disease
  • Have HIV, or a weak immune system
  • Have traveled to parts of the country that increase your risk of getting certain kinds of fungal infections, such as the Ohio, Mississippi River valleys and the Southwest
  • Have recently received or are scheduled to receive a live vaccine
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Rinvoq may harm your unborn baby. You should use effective birth control
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Rinvoq may pass into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed while taking Rinvoq and for at least 6 days after your last dose

You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Rinvoq, to make sure it is safe for you.

Other warnings you should know about

  • Increased risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke, or death, in people 50 years of age and older who have at least 1 heart disease risk factor, especially if you are a current or past smoker
  • Rinvoq may cause you to get infections more easily, even serious or fatal infections. Viruses such as shingles (herpes zoster), and hepatitis B or C may become active or worse

How to avoid Rinvoq side effects

The best way to avoid side effects is to take Rinvoq as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and do not take more or less than prescribed.

If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.

1. Stick to the recommended dosage

Take your prescribed dose of Rinvoq that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.

2. Monitor your blood sugar levels

If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Rinvoq. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.

3. Avoid alcohol

There are no known interactions between alcohol and Rinvoq. But Rinvoq may cause liver problems and consuming alcohol while taking Rinvoq may increase your risk for these side effects.

4. Know the signs and symptoms of Rinvoq side effects

Signs and symptoms of Rinvoq side effects include upper repiratory infections. If you experience any of these symptoms speak to your doctor for medical advice.

5. Monitor your weight

Rinvoq may cause weight gain. If you experience this side effect while taking Rinvoq, get medical advice from your doctor.

6. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking

Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Rinvoq.

7. Get regular medical check ups

If you have side effects it is important to get regular medical check ups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your side effects and may adjust your dose of Rinvoq as needed.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

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The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.