This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.
- This drug may raise the chance of infection, including severe infections. Sometimes severe infections have led to death. Most people who had these infections were taking other drugs to lower the immune system like methotrexate or steroid drugs. If your child has any infection, is taking antibiotics now or in the recent past, or has had many infections, talk with your child’s doctor.
- TB (tuberculosis) has been seen in patients started on this drug. These patients were exposed to TB in the past, but never got the infection. The doctor will test to see if your child has been exposed to TB before starting this drug.
- Lymphoma and other cancers have happened in people who take this drug or drugs like it. This has been deadly in some cases. Talk with the doctor.
- Heart attack, stroke, and blood clots have happened with this drug. These effects have also been seen in a study of a drug like this one. Sometimes these were severe and even deadly. People in the study had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), were at least 50 years of age, and had at least 1 heart disease risk factor. This drug is not approved to treat RA. Call the doctor right away if your child has signs of a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.
- Tell the doctor if your child smokes, has smoked in the past, or has ever had a heart attack, other heart problems, stroke, or blood clot.
- It is used to treat eczema.
- If your child is allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had.
- If your child has kidney disease.
- If your child has liver disease or has ever had hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection.
- If your child has any of these health problems: Low white blood cell count, low platelet count, or low red blood cell count.
- If your child is using another drug like this one. If you are not sure, ask your child’s doctor or pharmacist.
- If your child is taking any drugs used to suppress the immune system like azathioprine or cyclosporine. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- If your child is taking aspirin (more than 81 mg), clopidogrel, or other drugs that affect platelets. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
If your child is breast-feeding a baby:
- Be sure your child does not breast-feed a baby while taking this drug and for 1 day after the last dose.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe to give this drug with all of your child’s other drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.
- Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have your child’s blood work and other lab tests checked as you have been told by the doctor.
- Your child may have more chance of getting infections. Have your child wash hands often. Avoid crowds and people with infections, colds, or flu.
- If your child has had hepatitis B before or carries the virus, talk with your child’s doctor. Drugs like this one can cause the virus to become active. This can lead to very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems.
- Hepatitis B testing needs to be done as you were told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Some viral infections like herpes zoster (shingles) and herpes simplex have become active again with this drug. Tell the doctor if your child has ever had a viral infection like herpes zoster or herpes simplex. Talk with the doctor.
- Make sure your child is up to date with all vaccines before treatment with this drug.
- Talk with the doctor before having your child get any vaccines right before starting this drug, while taking it, and right after stopping it. Vaccine use with this drug may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- Be sure your child does not get a weakened bacteria like BCG for bladder cancer while using this drug. Talk with the doctor.
- High cholesterol has happened with this drug. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- The chance of skin cancer may be raised. Have your child avoid lots of sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and dress your child in clothing and eyewear that protects your child from the sun.
- Have your child’s skin checked. Tell your child’s doctor if your child has any skin changes like a new wart, skin sore or reddish bump that bleeds or does not heal, or a change in the color or size of a mole.
- Talk with the doctor about how this drug may affect being able to get pregnant.
If your child is pregnant or may be pregnant:
- Tell the doctor if your child is pregnant or becomes pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of your child using this drug while pregnant.
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) like blood in the urine, burning or pain when passing urine, feeling the need to pass urine often or right away, fever, lower stomach pain, or pelvic pain.
- Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Warm, red, or painful skin or sores on the body.
- A skin lump or growth.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Change in eyesight.
- Cold sweats.
- Severe upset stomach or throwing up.
- Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has a swollen gland, night sweats, shortness of breath, or weight loss without trying.
- Rarely, severe eye problems (retinal tear or detachment) have happened with this drug. Call the doctor or get medical help right away if your child starts to see flashing lights, floaters, a curtain-like shadow coming across the eye, or has sudden eyesight loss.
- Blood clots may happen with this drug. These may include heart attack, stroke, and clots in the legs or lungs. Call the doctor right away if your child has chest, arm, back, neck, or jaw pain or pressure. Call the doctor if your child coughs up blood or has dizziness; numbness or weakness on 1 side of the body; trouble speaking or thinking; change in balance; change in eyesight; shortness of breath; or swelling, warmth, or pain in the leg or arm.
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Dizziness or headache.
- Nose irritation.
- Signs of a common cold.
- Flu-like signs.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Pimples (acne).
- Mouth or throat pain or irritation.
- Stomach pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.
Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Give this drug with or without food.
- Give this drug at the same time of day.
- Have your child swallow whole with a drink of water.
- Do not let your child chew, break, or crush.
- Keep giving this drug to your child as you have been told by your child’s doctor or other health care provider, even if your child feels well.
- Give a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is less than 12 hours until your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses within 12 hours of each other.
- Store in the original container at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
- Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
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