Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz), and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Tofacitinib is an oral drug used for treating rheumatoid arthritis. It belongs to a class of drugs called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. JAKs are enzymes (proteins) that regulate chemical signaling pathways that control biologic processes such as blood formation and the immune response that causes the pain, tenderness and swelling of inflammation. JAKs are found in many cells, especially stem cells in bones and joints. Inhibition of JAKs by tofacitinib prevents inflammation and tissue destruction that is associated with the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. Tofacitinib was approved in November 2012.

What brand names are available for Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)?

Xeljanz

Is Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz) available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)?

Yes

What are the side effects of Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)?

Side effects of tofacitinib are:

Tofacitinib carries a boxed warning of risk of developing infections that may lead to hospitalization or death.

Patients must be carefully monitored for the development of signs and symptoms of infection before and during the treatment of tofacitinib.

Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment

What is the dosage for Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)?

The recommended dose in adults is: One tablet (5 mg) by mouth twice daily with or without food.

Safe and effective use of tofacitinib is not established in pediatric patients.

Which drugs or supplements interact with Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)?

Ketoconazole (Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric) and fluconazole (Diflucan) slow down the metabolism (elimination) of tofacitinib, increasing tofacitinib levels in the body.

Rifampin accelerates tofacitinib metabolism, which can reduce the beneficial effects of tofacitinib.

Combining tofacitinib with other medications like azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), cyclosporine, tacrolimus (Prograf), or oral steroids may cause further suppression of the immune system.

Is Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz) safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies of tofacitinib to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

It is not known whether tofacitinib enters breast milk; therefore, it is best to be cautious before using it in nursing mothers.

What else should I know about Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)?

What preparations of Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz) are available?

Tofacitinib is available as film-coated, immediate-release, 5 mg tablets.

How should I keep Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz) stored?

Tofacitinib should be stored at room temperature between 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F).

REFERENCE: Xeljanz Prescribing Information.

Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment

Summary

Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz) is an oral medication prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Prevention & Wellness

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Reviewed on 10/13/2015
References
REFERENCE: Xeljanz Prescribing Information.

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