What Are the Symptoms of Acute GVHD?


Identifying the signs and symptoms of acute GVHD

Find out how to identify the signs and symptoms of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)—and why it’s important to discuss them with a Healthcare Professional.

Video Transcript

Onscreen text and narrator: What Are the Symptoms of Acute GVHD?

Onscreen text and narrator: Jakafi® (ruxolitinib) is the first and only prescription medicine approved by the FDA to treat adults and children 12 years of age and older with acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) who have taken corticosteroids and they did not work well enough.

Important Safety Information is discussed later in this video.

Onscreen text and narrator: This video is intended for informational use only and is not medical advice. Your Healthcare Professional is the best source for treatment-related questions and medical advice.

Sandy: Hi. I'm Sandy Allen-Bard, an oncology clinical nurse educator for Incyte. For more than 20 years prior to joining Incyte, I worked with patients who had cancer as well as patients who had stem cell transplants, including those who experienced acute graft-versus-host disease or acute GVHD.

Sandy: Just as it’s important to understand what acute GVHD is—it’s equally important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of acute GVHD early on.

Sandy: Knowing the symptoms of acute GVHD, so that you can report them to your transplant team, is important. Let's review what you should look for.

Sandy: Acute GVHD mainly affects the skin, liver, and gastrointestinal—or GI—tract. Your GI tract (also known as your digestive tract) includes your stomach, intestines, and colon. Patients may experience symptoms or other health problems in any of these organs because of acute GVHD.

Sandy: Acute GVHD can be hard to predict and can get worse over time. That's why it's so important for you to inform your transplant team of any symptoms that you are having.

Sandy: A rash is the most common acute GVHD symptom.

Sandy: Acute GVHD of the skin often starts as a faint rash that might appear anywhere on the body, including the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. As it worsens, the rash can spread to cover the entire body.

Onscreen text: SKIN SYMPTOMS OF ACUTE GVHD
Faint to severe sunburn-like rash (can appear anywhere, may cover entire body) | Blistering and peeling skin

Tell your Transplant Team right away at the first sign of a skin rash.

Sandy: It can resemble a sunburn, but can also be more severe and involve blistering and peeling of the skin. Depending on your situation, your Transplant Team may treat you for acute GVHD--even if you only have a mild skin rash.

Sandy: That's why it’s very important to tell them right away at the first sign of any skin rash, because it can quickly spread and become more severe.

Onscreen text: GASTROINTESTINAL (GI) TRACT SYMPTOMS OF ACUTE GVHD (stomach, intestines, colon)
Diarrhea | Abdominal pain | Nausea | Vomiting | Bloating | Blood in the stool

Sandy: Diarrhea is another common symptom of acute GVHD and one of the most classic GI symptoms associated with this condition.

Sandy: In some cases, a person could have more than seven episodes of diarrhea each day. Other GI symptoms include abdominal pain, bleeding, and/or nausea and vomiting.

Onscreen text: LIVER-RELATED SYMPTOMS OF ACUTE GVHD
Effects identified by blood tests | Few outward signs, but may include yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice), pain in the upper part of your belly, or dark, tea-colored urine

Sandy: Acute GVHD of the liver often has no symptoms. However, it can be diagnosed by blood tests. If liver symptoms are present, liver involvement in acute GHVD can appear as jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Sandy: This is caused by the buildup of a substance called bilirubin, which is made when the liver processes red blood cells that have worn out. When the liver is unhealthy, it is unable to clear bilirubin, which can build up in the skin or eyes and make them appear yellow.

Onscreen text: Call your Transplant Team right away if you notice any symptoms that might indicate acute GVHD.

Sandy: It’s important to call your Transplant Team right away if you notice any symptoms or changes that might indicate acute GVHD.

Sandy: Helping your Transplant Team recognize early symptoms or changes that might indicate acute GVHD gives them the opportunity to start treatment early in the disease.

Sandy: If acute GVHD does occur, treatment usually begins with medicines to suppress the patient’s immune system.

Sandy: Steroids (also known as corticosteroids) are the standard treatment for patients with newly diagnosed acute GVHD.

Sandy: Although steroid treatment is successful for some patients, others do not respond initially or do not fully respond.

Onscreen text: Not all patients respond initially or do not fully respond to steroid treatment. This is known as steroid-refractory acute GVHD.

Sandy: When patients don’t respond well enough to steroids—either because they didn’t have the desired response or because they required high doses that could not be reduced—they are said to have steroid-refractory acute GVHD.

Sandy: When steroids don’t work well enough, healthcare professionals may recommend or suggest a different type of treatment.

Sandy: If you or a loved one has acute GVHD and it has not responded to therapy with steroids, ask your Transplant Team about Jakafi (ruxolitinib).

Onscreen text: Your treatment journey depends on your individual circumstances and the decisions you make with your Transplant Team. Results may vary.

Sandy: Talk to your Transplant Team to discover if Jakafi may be an option for you. Now let's review the Important Safety Information for Jakafi.

Onscreen text and narrator: Important Safety Information

Jakafi can cause serious side effects, including:

Low blood counts: Jakafi® (ruxolitinib) may cause your platelet, red blood cell, or white blood cell counts to be lowered. If you develop bleeding, stop taking Jakafi and call your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will perform blood tests to check your blood counts before you start Jakafi and regularly during your treatment. Your healthcare provider may change your dose of Jakafi or stop your treatment based on the results of your blood tests. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop or have worsening symptoms such as unusual bleeding, bruising, tiredness, shortness of breath, or a fever.

Infection: You may be at risk for developing a serious infection during treatment with Jakafi. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop any of the following symptoms of infection: chills, nausea, vomiting, aches, weakness, fever, painful skin rash or blisters.

Skin cancers: Some people who take Jakafi have developed certain types of non-melanoma skin cancers. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop any new or changing skin lesions.

Increases in cholesterol: You may have changes in your blood cholesterol levels. Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check your cholesterol levels during your treatment with Jakafi.

The most common side effects of Jakafi include: for certain types of MF and PV – low platelet or red blood cell counts, bruising, dizziness, headache, and diarrhea; and for acute GVHD – low platelet, red or white blood cell counts, infections, and fluid retention.

These are not all the possible side effects of Jakafi. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for more information. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Before taking Jakafi, tell your healthcare provider about: all the medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you are taking and all your medical conditions, including if you have an infection, have or had tuberculosis (TB) or have been in close contact with someone who has TB, have or had hepatitis B, have or had liver or kidney problems, are on dialysis, have high cholesterol or triglycerides, had skin cancer, or have any other medical condition. Take Jakafi exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. Do not change your dose or stop taking Jakafi without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Women should not take Jakafi while pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Do not breastfeed during treatment with Jakafi and for 2 weeks after the final dose.

Please see the Full Prescribing Information, which includes a more complete discussion of the risks associated with Jakafi.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

You may also report side effects to Incyte Medical Information at 1-855-463-3463.

Sandy: Visit jakafi.com to learn more about the possible risks and benefits of Jakafi for the treatment of acute GVHD for patients who have already taken corticosteroids and they did not work well enough.

Onscreen text: Please visit Jakafi.com to learn more.

This video is sponsored by Incyte Corporation.
Jakafi and the Jakafi logo are registered trademarks of Incyte.
© 2020, Incyte Corporation. MAT-JAK-01542  03/20

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INDICATIONS AND USAGE

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Jakafi is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with polycythemia vera who have already taken a medicine called hydroxyurea and it did not work well enough or they could not tolerate it.

Jakafi is used to treat adults with certain types of myelofibrosis.

Jakafi is also used to treat adults and children 12 years of age and older with acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) who have taken corticosteroids and they did not work well enough.

Important Safety Information

Jakafi can cause serious side effects, including:

Low blood counts: Jakafi® (ruxolitinib) may cause your platelet, red blood cell, or white blood cell counts to be lowered. If you develop bleeding, stop taking Jakafi and call your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will perform blood tests to check your blood counts before you start Jakafi and regularly during your treatment. Your healthcare provider may change your dose of Jakafi or stop your treatment based on the results of your blood tests. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop or have worsening symptoms such as unusual bleeding, bruising, tiredness, shortness of breath, or a fever.

Infection: You may be at risk for developing a serious infection during treatment with Jakafi. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop any of the following symptoms of infection: chills, nausea, vomiting, aches, weakness, fever, painful skin rash or blisters.

Skin cancers: Some people who take Jakafi have developed certain types of non-melanoma skin cancers. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop any new or changing skin lesions.

Increases in cholesterol: You may have changes in your blood cholesterol levels. Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check your cholesterol levels during your treatment with Jakafi.

The most common side effects of Jakafi include: for certain types of MF and PV – low platelet or red blood cell counts, bruising, dizziness, headache, and diarrhea; and for acute GVHD – low platelet, red or white blood cell counts, infections, and fluid retention.

These are not all the possible side effects of Jakafi. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for more information. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Before taking Jakafi, tell your healthcare provider about: all the medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you are taking and all your medical conditions, including if you have an infection, have or had tuberculosis (TB) or have been in close contact with someone who has TB, have or had hepatitis B, have or had liver or kidney problems, are on dialysis, have high cholesterol or triglycerides, had skin cancer, or have any other medical condition. Take Jakafi exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. Do not change your dose or stop taking Jakafi without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Women should not take Jakafi while pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Do not breastfeed during treatment with Jakafi and for 2 weeks after the final dose.

Please see the Full Prescribing Information, which includes a more complete discussion of the risks associated with Jakafi.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

You may also report side effects to Incyte Medical Information at 1-855-463-3463.