What is XELJANZ and what is it used for?
XELJANZ is a medicine that contains the active substance tofacitinib. Tofacitinib is a small molecule that blocks the activity of a protein inside human cells which can cause inflammation.
In adults (aged 18 and over), XELJANZ can be used for moderate or severe active rheumatoid arthritis, for active psoriatic arthritis or for moderate or severely active ulcerative colitis – in each case usually when other widely used treatments have not worked well enough or are not suitable.
XELJANZ is also indicated for the treatment of active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) (rheumatoid factor positive [RF+] or negative [RF-] polyarthritis and extended oligoarthritis), and juvenile psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in patients 2 years of age and older, who have responded inadequately to previous therapy with DMARDs.
For JIA patients, XELJANZ can be given in combination with methotrexate (MTX) or as monotherapy in case of intolerance to MTX or where continued treatment with MTX is inappropriate.
For rheumatoid arthritis, XELJANZ is used together with methotrexate when previous rheumatoid arthritis treatment has not been sufficiently effective or has not been well tolerated. XELJANZ can also be taken on its own in those cases where methotrexate treatment is not tolerated, or treatment with methotrexate is not advised.
For rheumatoid arthritis, XELJANZ is a 5mg tablet taken twice daily or a 11mg tablet for oral use taken once daily.
For psoriatic arthritis patients, XELJANZ is used together with methotrexate when previous psoriatic arthritis treatment has not been sufficiently effective or has not been well tolerated.
For psoriatic arthritis, XELJANZ is a 5mg tablet for oral use taken twice daily or a 11 mg tablet for oral use taken once daily.
For ulcerative colitis, XELJANZ is used when previous ulcerative colitis treatment has not sufficiently effective or has not been well tolerated.
For ulcerative colitis, XELJANZ is a 5mg or 10mg tablet for oral use taken twice daily. The 10 mg twice daily dose is taken at the beginning of treatment for 8-16 weeks, followed by the 5 mg dose thereafter.
For those with JIA, the dose of XELJANZ is based on the weight of the individual, and so can be given either as a 5 mg tablet taken twice daily, or via an oral solution taken twice daily.
Treatment should be supervised by a specialised doctor who knows how to treat inflammatory conditions.
The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. One of the ways they do this is by producing evidence-based guidance. See what guidance they offer about Xeljanz for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Ulcerative Colitis.
Medicines in Northern Ireland fall under the remit of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) whilst medicines in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) fall under the remit of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) following the UK leaving the European Union. These agencies are responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies.
If you would like to see the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) or Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) for XELJANZ please follow these links:
XELJANZ (tofacitinib citrate)
XELJANZ (tofacitinib citrate)
PP-XEL-GBR-3292 / November 2021