Why is it important to obtain blood counts before initiating therapy with ruxolitinib?

FAQ published on January 20, 2020
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Rami S. Komrokji, MD
Professor of Medicine and Oncologic Sciences
University of South Florida College of Medicine
Vice Chair, Malignant Hematology Department
Moffitt Cancer Center
Tampa, Florida
Why is it important to obtain blood counts before initiating therapy with ruxolitinib?

Because the main side effect of ruxolitinib is really myelosuppression; that's typically observed in the first eight weeks of the treatment. The nadir is usually at eight weeks, the starting dose of ruxolitinib depends on the baseline blood counts, and subsequently most of the patients have a drop in their hemoglobin by one or two grams. We could see thrombocytopenia drop in the platelet, and less often neutropenia. So the first eight weeks we really closely monitor the blood counts, some patients will need dose adjustments based on that. Typically after eight to 12 weeks, counts will level off and we would figure out the appropriate dose of ruxolitinib continuation.

Last modified: January 20, 2020