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What are the aims of this leaflet?

This leaflet has been written to help you understand more about abrocitinib. It tells you what it is, how it works, how it is used to treat skin conditions, and where you can find out more about it.

What is abrocitinib and how does it work?

Abrocitinib belongs to a group of medicines called Janus kinase inhibitors (JAKi). They work by reducing the activity of an enzyme (messenger protein) in the body called ‘Janus kinase” which  causes inflammation. By reducing the activity of this enzyme, it helps to improve the condition of your skin and reduce itching.  Abrocitinib can also help  improve sleep disturbance due to itch, and overall improve your quality of life.

What skin conditions are treated with abrocitinib? 

Abrocitinib is used to treat moderate-to-severe atopic eczema.

Will abrocitinib cure my skin condition?

Abrocitinib will not cure eczema. The aim of the treatment is to reduce the symptoms of the condition and improve your quality of life. 

How often/When should I use/take abrocitinib? 

Abrocitinib is taken orally (by mouth) once a day, with or without food, at the same time every day. It is taken as a tablet, and should be swallowed whole, not crushed or chewed.

What dose should I take? 

Dermatologists usually prescribe a starting dose of 100mg or 200mg once a day. Your dose may be increased or decreased depending how well the medicine is working and whether you experience any side effects. Your dose may be adjusted depending on the results from your blood tests, which can include kidney and liver tests.

How long will I need to take abrocitinib before I see an effect?

Abrocitinib can reduce itch within days  of starting treatment. Usually your skin will be assessed after about 4 months  to see if there has been any improvement. If there is no improvement after several months, then your doctor may consider an alternative treatment. 

What are the common side effects of abrocitinib?

Most patients tolerate abrocitinib well and do not experience any unwanted effects. However there are some common side effects. These include:

Acne is a widespread condition characterised by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots (pustules). Among people taking abrocitinib, acne often affects the face and can generally be managed with topical therapies applied directly to the skin.

Herpes simplex recurrences occur more commonly in people taking abrocitinib. Herpes simplex is a common viral infection that causes  blisters, usually  on the mouth (known as cold sores), or else in the genital area.

Shingles is also a common side effect. It is a painful blistering rash, typically in a small area on one side of the body. Shingles is a recurrence of chickenpox  (the varicella zoster virus).

Other common side effects include headache, feeling sick in the stomach (nausea), high levels of cholesterol, altered blood counts: anaemia (low red blood cells), leukopenia (low white blood cells), and increase in an enzyme called creatine kinase level (which shows up on blood tests).

If you do feel unwell whilst taking this medication it is important to contact your doctor immediately. 

What are the rare side effects of abrocitinib? 

Rarely abrocitinib can affect platelets in the blood (these prevent bleeding by helping blood to clot) which can be shown by a blood test.

It can also lower lymphocyte count (these are a type of white cell in the blood) which can be shown by a blood test.

It can raise cholesterol (a type of fat in the blood) which can be shown by blood test.

Rarer side effects include cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, stroke, or serious life-threatening blood clots in the lungs or legs.

Taking Abrocitinib may increase the risk of cancer such as lymphoma (cancer that begins in the  cells that fight infection), or other types of cancers.

If you do experience any side effects it is important to talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist treating you.

How will I be monitored for the side effects of abrocitinib treatment? 

People of childbearing potential should take effective contraceptive measures whilst taking abrocitinib and for up to 1 month after stopping it.

Do not take abrocitinib during pregnancy. If you are planning for a child or if you become pregnant while taking abrocitinib, this must be discussed with your healthcare professional as soon as possible.

May I drink alcohol while taking abrocitinib? 

Alcohol interacts with abrocitinib, and it is advisable to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum to avoid affecting the liver.

Can I take other medicines at the same time as abrocitinib? 

Some drugs interact with abrocitinib, and it is always advisable to tell any doctor, nurse or pharmacist treating you that you are taking this tablet.

You should not take abrocitinib with other medicines that prevent blood clots during the first 3 months of treatment. You can take aspirin during this time if prescribed by your doctor.

Where can I get more information about abrocitinib? 

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for more information. This information leaflet does not list all the side effects of abrocitinib. For further information, please look at the drug information sheet for abrocitinib in the prescription pack.

Web links to other relevant sources:



Jargon Buster: https://www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk/support-resources/jargon-buster/

It is important to report suspected side effects of medicines. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) manages the Yellow Card scheme. This scheme collects information and safety concerns about medicines and medical devices. Anyone can report these side effects or concerns by using:

 Please note that the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) provides web links to additional resources to help people access a range of information about their treatment or skin condition. The views expressed in these external resources may not be shared by the BAD or its members. The BAD has no control of and does not endorse the content of external links.

This leaflet aims to provide accurate information about the subject and is a consensus of the views held by representatives of the British Association of Dermatologists: individual patient circumstances may differ, which might alter both the advice and course of therapy given to you by your doctor. 

This leaflet has been assessed for readability by the British Association of Dermatologists’ Patient Information Lay Review Panel 




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