Venous thromboembolic events in the tofacitinib ulcerative colitis clinical development programme

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Nov;50(10):1068-1076. doi: 10.1111/apt.15514. Epub 2019 Oct 9.


Background: Tofacitinib is an oral, small molecule JAK inhibitor for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC).

Aim: To report incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in the tofacitinib UC programme.

Methods: DVT and PE were evaluated from one phase 2 and two phase 3 induction studies, one phase 3 maintenance study and an ongoing, open-label, long-term extension (OLE) study (September 2018 datacut). Data were analysed in induction, maintenance and overall (patients receiving ≥ 1 dose of tofacitinib 5 or 10 mg b.d. in any phase 2, 3 or OLE study) cohorts.

Results: 1157 patients (2404 patient-years' exposure; ≤ 6.1 years' tofacitinib treatment) were evaluated in the overall cohort. In induction, one placebo-treated patient had DVT and one had PE; no tofacitinib-treated patients had DVT/PE. In maintenance, one placebo-treated patient had DVT and one had PE; no tofacitinib-treated patients had DVT/PE. In the overall cohort, one patient had DVT (incidence rate [patients with events/100 patient-years; 95% CI]: 0.04 [0.00-0.23]); four had PE (0.16 [0.04-0.41]); all received predominant dose tofacitinib 10 mg b.d.; all had venous thromboembolism risk factors alongside UC.

Conclusions: In this post hoc analysis of patients with UC, during tofacitinib exposure, one patient had DVT and four had PE, all during the OLE study, on predominant dose 10 mg b.d. (83% of overall cohort patients received predominant dose 10 mg b.d.) with venous thromboembolism risk factors. This analysis is limited by small sample size and limited drug exposure; further studies are needed. NCT00787202, NCT01465763, NCT01458951, NCT01458574, NCT01470612.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Piperidines / adverse effects
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / chemically induced
  • Pulmonary Embolism / epidemiology
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrroles / adverse effects
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Venous Thromboembolism / chemically induced
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / chemically induced
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Piperidines
  • Pyrimidines
  • Pyrroles
  • tofacitinib

Associated data