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Baricitinib - Dosages, Precautions and Side Effects

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Baricitinib (Olumiant) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and is also being considered for coronavirus treatment. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Mukesh Tiwari

Published At May 16, 2022
Reviewed AtSeptember 8, 2022

What Is Baricitinib?

Baricitinib is a Janus kinase inhibitor that is used to relieve pain, stiffness, and joint swelling in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis when all other treatment methods have failed. Baricitinib also has the additional benefit of slowing the course of bone and joint damage. Baricitinib is also being investigated for its potential application in the treatment of coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States has approved the emergency use of Baricitinib for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults and children over the age of two who are hospitalized and are on supplemental oxygen or a ventilator due to the illness. The use of Baricitinib to treat coronavirus or COVID-19 has not yet been approved.

How Should You Take Baricinitib?

  • Baricitinib is given once daily as a tablet. In some cases, such as if you are over 75 years old or have had recurring infections, your doctor may choose to decrease the normal dose.

  • Baricitinib may be taken with or without food.

  • Stick to the guidelines mentioned on your prescription label. Read in detail any special instructions or warnings. Take the medication as prescribed.

  • Sometimes, you may be more susceptible to infections, including severe or deadly diseases, if you are taking this drug. You will require frequent medical examinations.

  • If you have ever had shingles (herpes zoster), utilizing Baricitinib may trigger the reactivation of these viruses or worsen the existing condition. So inform your doctor if you have or had any of these infections.

  • While utilizing Baricitinib for COVID-19, you must be under the care of a physician. Continue to take Baricitinib for the whole duration indicated (usually for 14 days or until you leave the hospital).

What Role Does Baricitinib Play in the Treatment of COVID-19?

Baricitinib is a Janus kinase inhibitor that inhibits the activity of one or more members of a specific family of enzymes, hence interfering with the inflammatory pathway. The FDA approved the emergency use of Baricitinib in combination with Remdesivir for the treatment of certain hospitalized patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. It also increases lymphocyte count and inhibits virus penetration into cells. Patients in the adaptive COVID-19 treatment trial-2 (ACTT-2) were given either Baricitinib or a placebo. Both groups got Remdesivir. Compared to Remdesivir plus Placebo, the combination of Baricitinib with Remdesivir showed speedy recovery and improved the clinical status of patients. The FDA has authorized its emergency use (EUA) for COVID-19 treatment.

1. Adults With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Used in adult patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded to one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists.

  • This medicine can be taken alone or in combination with other DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs).

  • Dosage - 2 milligrams once daily.

2. Adults with COVID-19 Infection: Used with Remdesivir to treat COVID-19 in hospitalized patients requiring supplementary oxygen, invasive mechanical ventilation, or ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation).

  • Dosage - 4 mg Remdesivir once daily.

  • Therapy lasts 14 days or until hospital discharge.

3. Pediatric COVID-19 Patients: Its use is recommended only for research purposes in the pediatric population.

  • Dosage -

    • In two to nine years, 2 milligrams once daily.

    • For children nine years and older, 4 mg twice daily.

  • Therapy lasts 14 days or until hospital discharge.

What Are the Precautions to Be Taken Before Taking Baricitinib?

In combination with other medications, Baricitinib may increase your chance of developing life-threatening medical problems such as major infections, a hole or rip in your digestive tract, a heart attack or stroke, blood clots, or cancer. Inform your doctor if you have had any of the following:

  • A compromised immune system or chronic infection (e.g., tuberculosis, shingles, HIV, or hepatitis).

  • Cancer of any type.

  • Illness of the kidneys.

  • Diverticulitis is a stomach or intestinal ulcer.

  • Cardiovascular difficulties.

  • A coronary artery bypass, a stroke, or a blood clot.

  • Excessive cholesterol.

  • Hepatic disease (especially hepatitis B or C).

  • A chronic pulmonary disease.

  • Diabetes.

  • Inform your doctor if you have been unwell with fever, chills, muscle pains, cough, difficulty breathing, skin sores, diarrhea, or painful urination.

  • Let your doctor know if you have a history of tuberculosis or have been exposed to it or if you have recently traveled. Certain infections are more prevalent in particular regions of the world, and you may have been exposed while traveling.

  • Do not hide your pregnancy from your doctor.

  • Do not breastfeed.

  • Keep it out of the reach of children as it is not recommended for use by anyone under the age of 18.

What to Do in Case of a Missed Dose?

If you forget a dose, take the medication as soon as possible. Skip the missed dose if it is already time for your next dose. Do not double up the doses to compensate.

What Are the Side Effects of Taking Barcitinib?

  • If you develop any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction while taking Baricitinib, discontinue treatment and seek emergency medical attention:

    • Hives.

    • Breathing difficulties.

    • Face, lips, tongue, and throat swelling.

  • Certain individuals using Baricitinib have experienced heart attacks, strokes, or life-threatening blood clots. If you develop the following symptoms, discontinue taking it and seek emergency medical attention:

    • Sudden onset of shortness of breath.

    • Soreness or pressure in the chest that may move to the jaw, shoulder, arms, or back.

    • Nausea, vomiting, and chills.

    • A lightheaded sensation, as if you are about to faint out.

    • Lack of strength on one side of your body.

    • Slurred speech.

    • Drooping lips on one side.

    • An arm or a leg may experience discomfort, swelling, or redness.

What Are the Drug Interactions of Baricitinib?

There are 384 drugs known to interact with Baricitinib, 259 of which are major, 119 of which are moderate, and 6 of which are minor. This list does not include all possible drug interactions. Several drugs may interact with one another, including some of the following:

  • Methotrexate (sometimes combined with Baricitinib).

  • Probenecid.

  • Medication containing steroids, such as Prednisone or Dexamethasone.

  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve), Celecoxib, Diclofenac, Indomethacin, and Meloxicam are some, among others.

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications, and several other medicines like vitamins, herbal supplements, etc., may also interact with Baricitinib.


All the information regarding this drug Baricitnib is for educational purposes and based on general information. The drug interactions and complications may vary depending on one’s health-related issues and conditions. Consult your healthcare practitioner to check that the information in this article applies to your specific situation. For further information and assistance, please contact our icliniq specialists.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Uses of Baricitinib?

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who require oxygen or breathing assistance are treated with baricitinib. Severe alopecia areata is treated with baricitinib (an autoimmune disorder that causes patchy hair loss). Moreover, after all other treatments have failed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, baricitinib is administered to reduce pain, stiffness, and joint swelling.


Why Is Baricitinib Used for COVID?

Baricitinib can stop SARS-COV-2 from entering the target (lung) cells and regulate the cytokine storm caused by COVID-19.


What Class of Drug Is Baricitinib?

Baricitinib belongs to Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, which reduce the immune system's activity.


What Is the Adverse Effect of Baricitinib?

Baricitinib is known to cause serious venous thrombosis, including pulmonary embolism, and severe infections, both of which have been seen in COVID-19 patients receiving treatment.


How Long Is Baricitinib Given for COVID?

Baricitinib should be taken for 14 days or until the patient is discharged.


Can Baricitinib Cause Blood Clots?

Baricitinib can cause blood clots with examples of medical conditions such as deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.


What Is the Best Time of Day to Take Baricitinib?

Baricitinib is advised to be taken as a tablet once a day.


Is Baricitinib an Anti-inflammatory?

No, baricitinib is not an anti-inflammatory drug.
Dr. Mukesh Tiwari
Dr. Mukesh Tiwari

General Practitioner


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