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Ruxolitinib topical

Generic name: ruxolitinib topical [ RUX-oh-LI-ti-nib-TOP-i-kal ]
Brand name: Opzelura
Dosage form: topical cream (1.5%)
Drug class: Topical antineoplastics

Medically reviewed by on Apr 5, 2022. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is ruxolitinib topical?

Ruxolitinib topical (for the skin) is used as a short-term treatment of mild to moderate eczema (atopic dermatitis) in people 12 years and older.

ruxolitinib topical should only be used when other drugs are not recommended or have not worked.

Ruxolitinib topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Ruxolitinib topical side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Ruxolitinib topical may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole or skin lesion;

  • signs of a stroke--sudden numbness or weakness, severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;

  • signs of a blood clot in the lung--chest pain, sudden cough or shortness of breath, dizziness, coughing up blood;

  • signs of a blood clot deep in the body--pain, swelling, or warmth in one leg;

  • signs of infection--fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, bruising or bleeding;

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath; or

  • signs of tuberculosis: fever, cough, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, and feeling very tired.

Common side effects of ruxolitinib topical may include:

  • pain or swelling in your nose or throat;

  • diarrhea;

  • bronchitis;

  • high eosinophil (a type of white blood cell) count;

  • hives;

  • inflamed hair pores;

  • swelling of the tonsils;

  • runny nose; or

  • ear infection--fever, ear pain or full feeling, trouble hearing, drainage from the ear, fussiness in a child.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Use only as directed. Tell your doctor if you use other medicines or have other medical conditions or allergies.

Before taking this medicine

Tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis or if anyone in your household has tuberculosis. Also tell your doctor if you have recently traveled. Tuberculosis and some fungal infections are more common in certain parts of the world, and you may have been exposed during travel.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Using ruxolitinib may increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about this risk and what skin symptoms to watch for.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of ruxolitinib topical on the baby.

It is not known whether ruxolitinib will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while you are using ruxolitinib, and for at least 4 weeks after your last dose.

How should I use ruxolitinib topical?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin.

Wash your hands before and after applying ruxolitinib topical, unless you are using it to treat a hand condition.

Use only a small amount of medicine. Apply a thin layer twice a day to the affected areas and rub in gently.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not apply two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medicine.

What should I avoid while using ruxolitinib topical?

Avoid getting ruxolitinib topical in your eyes, mouth, or vagina.

What other drugs will affect ruxolitinib topical?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medicines at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you use, which may increase side effects or make the medicines less effective.

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect ruxolitinib topical, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.