December 4, 2014
Today Jakafi became the first FDA-approved treatment for patients with polycythemia vera (PV) who have had an inadequate response to or are intolerant of hydroxyurea. Approved for use to treat symptoms of myelofibrosis in 2011, Jakafi’s new use is intended to treat polycythemia vera patients who have an inadequate response to or cannot tolerate hydroxyurea, another medicine often prescribed to reduce the number of red blood cells and platelets in the blood. Jakafi works by inhibiting enzymes called Janus Associated Kinase (JAK) 1 and 2 that are involved in regulating blood and immunological functioning. The drug’s approval to treat polycythemia vera will help decrease the occurrence of an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly) and the need for phlebotomy, a procedure to remove excess blood from the body.