The management of rheumatoid arthritis has seen a dramatic improvement with the introduction of a range of biological disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in recent years. Nonetheless, a proportion of patients remain resistant or intolerant to multiple conventional and biological DMARDs, so innovative strategies are needed to offer patients new therapeutic options. Tofacitinib is the first of a new class of orally active DMARDs, with immunomodulating effects through inhibition of intracellular Janus kinase (JAK) pathways. It has been recently licensed for treatment of adults with moderate to severe RA in the US, Japan, and Russia. In this review the authors evaluate the efficacy and safety of tofacitinib in RA, focusing predominantly on the phase 3 study data.