Tofacitinib for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease‑associated arthritis: two case reports

Muhammad Shoaib Momen Majumder*, Syed Atiqul Haq, J.J. Rasker

*Corresponding author for this work

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Musculoskeletal manifestations are common extraintestinal manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease. Tofacitinib is a Janus kinase inhibitor approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. There are limited data on the efficacy of tofacitinib in managing inflammatory bowel disease-associated arthritis. Here we report two patients with ulcerative colitis- and Crohn’s disease-associated arthritis successfully responding to tofacitinib.

A 34-year-old Bangladeshi woman presented with lower limb polyarthritis for 7 years. Six months after the onset of polyarthritis, she developed abdominal pain with rectal bleeding. Colonoscopy and rectal biopsy findings confirmed ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis associated arthritis was diagnosed. Treatment with sulfasalazine, etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, and methotrexate gave no long-lasting remission. Methotrexate with mesalazine gave a partial response, and tofacitinib 5 mg twice per day was added. Her articular and abdominal symptoms improved within a month, and remission persisted till 24 months of follow-up, except a short-lasting mild flare at the seventh month. A 52-year-old Bangladeshi man had Crohn’s disease for 5 years. He presented with a swollen left knee and pain in other joints. Laboratory showed positive HLA-B27. He was intolerant to sulfasalazine and experienced poor response to methotrexate. Due to his inability to afford anti-tumor necrosis factor, tofacitinib was initiated. His arthritis improved within a month, and he remained in remission up to the sixth month.

In a woman with ulcerative colitis associated arthritis, refractory to biologic therapy, both arthritis and colitis improved with tofacitinib. A patient with Crohn’s disease-associated arthritis went into remission with tofacitinib. Tofacitinib may be effective in inflammatory bowel disease-associated arthritis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number71
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Early online date1 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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