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  • Generic Name: (tofacitinib)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 03/2016
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Xeljanz is a medicine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (a type of arthritis that involves inflammation of the joints) in people who did not respond well to methotrexate. Xeljanz is available as tablets and as extended-release tablets (a type of tablet that releases medicine into your body throughout the day) called Xeljanz XR.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Xeljanz works by disrupting the process that leads to inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: Xeljanz has been shown to reduce daily joint pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

      When: Xeljanz may begin to improve your symptoms within 2 weeks.

      How do I know it is working?

      You may feel an improvement in your symptoms once you begin using Xeljanz. This is a good indicator that your medication is working. Your healthcare provider may ask you questions to assess how well your symptoms are controlled.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      Xeljanz can affect your immune system and lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. Some people have serious infections while taking Xeljanz, including tuberculosis (a bacterial infection that affects the lungs), and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses that can spread throughout the body. Your healthcare provider should test you for tuberculosis before starting Xeljanz, and monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of tuberculosis while you are taking Xeljanz.

      Xeljanz may increase your risk of certain cancers by changing the way your immune system works. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had any type of cancer. Some people who have taken Xeljanz with certain other medicines to prevent kidney transplant rejection have had a problem with certain white blood cells growing out of control.

      More common side effects may include: upper respiratory infection, headache, diarrhea, nasal congestion, sore throat, runny nose.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Tears in your stomach or intestines, with symptoms such as fever and abdominal (stomach area) pain that does not go away, or a change in your bowel habits. This is more likely to happen if you are also taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), corticosteroids (such as prednisone), or methotrexate.

      Increased risk of developing shingles.

      Xeljanz may cause changes in certain laboratory test results.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not take Xeljanz if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Xeljanz. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have diabetes, kidney or liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C), an infection, abdominal pain, or tuberculosis (or have been in close contact with someone with tuberculosis); live, have lived in, or have traveled to certain parts of the country (such as the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys and the Southwest) where there is an increased chance for getting certain infections (including tuberculosis); have been diagnosed with diverticulitis (inflammation in the large intestine that results in pouches) or ulcers in your stomach or intestines; recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.


      Adults: The recommended dose is 5 milligrams (mg) twice a day.

      Xeljanz XR

      Adults: The recommended dose is 11 mg once a day.

      If you are taking certain other medicines or have kidney or liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Take Xeljanz exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Xeljanz without first talking to your healthcare provider.

      Take Xeljanz with or without food.

      Swallow Xeljanz XR tablets whole. Do not crush, split, or chew the tablets.

      When you take Xeljanz XR, you may see something in your stool that looks like a tablet. This is the empty shell from the tablet after the medicine has been absorbed by your body.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not receive certain vaccines during treatment with Xeljanz without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Xeljanz is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Xeljanz may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      The effects of Xeljanz during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Xeljanz. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

      If you become pregnant while taking Xeljanz, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the Xeljanz pregnancy registry. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of this medicine during pregnancy.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      If you miss a dose of Xeljanz, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store at room temperature.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
      back to top Use your PDR® Pharmacy Discount Card when you or a family member fills a prescription and ask for your PDR® Discount every
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    This discount plan is NOT insurance or a Medicare prescription drug plan. The plan is not intended as a substitute for insurance and does not meet creditable coverage requirements under state or federal law. The plan provides discounts at participating pharmacies on certain pharmaceutical supplies, prescription drugs, or medical equipment and supplies. The range of discounts will vary depending on the products received. Members are obligated to pay the pharmacy the entire amount of the discounted rate for such products at the point of sale. The plan does not pay pharmacies for products provided to members. No enrollment or periodic fees apply. The pharmacy may pay the plan a fee from amounts the pharmacy collects from the member. The discount plan organization is ProCare Pharmacy Benefit Manager, Inc.,1267 Professional Parkway, ProCare Office Park, Gainesville, GA 30507, 1-888-299-5383. Customer service is provided by PDR, LLC., 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ, 07645, 1-800-232-7379, www.pdr.net/DiscountCard, customerservice@pdr.net.