Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR (tofacitinib) are brand-name drugs prescribed for certain autoimmune conditions. They work to treat these conditions by blocking a certain enzyme that causes inflammation and swelling.
- ulcerative colitis (UC)
- rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
- ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
Xeljanz is also used for certain children ages 2 years and older who have polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).
See below for more information on autoimmune disorders and how Xeljanz works to treat them.
What autoimmune disorders are
With autoimmune disorders, your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body. With these conditions, your immune system mistakenly attacks:
- your joints, if you have RA, AS, or JIA
- your joints and your skin, if you have PsA
- the lining of your intestines or rectum, if you have UC
In each of these conditions, your immune system is overactive. This results in inflammation in your joints, skin, or intestines and causes pain and other symptoms.
What Xeljanz does
Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR contain the active drug tofacitinib. They belong to a class of drugs called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors.
Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR inhibit (block the activity of) an enzyme called JAK. This enzyme is a special protein that works inside your cells to cause inflammation and swelling. By blocking the activity of JAK,Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR decrease the amount of inflammation in your body. This helps reduce pain and other symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders.
Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR start working shortly after you start taking either drug. In clinical studies, some people had fewer symptoms within the first month after starting Xeljanz. However, each person’s response will be unique.
If you’d like to learn more about Xeljanz, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about how the drug works in your body.
If you’d like to learn about other aspects of Xeljanz, you can explore these articles:
- More information about Xeljanz. For details about other aspects of Xeljanz, refer to this article.
- Side effects. To learn about side effects of Xeljanz, see this article. You can also look at the Xeljanz prescribing information.
- Cost. If you’d like to learn about Xeljanz and cost, see this article.
- Drug comparison. To learn how Xeljanz compares with Rhinvoq, read this article.
- Dosage. For information about the dosage of Xeljanz, view this article.
- A look at your condition. For details on ulcerative colitis (UC), see our list of UC articles. To learn more about arthritis, refer to our arthritis hub. You can also see our lists of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) articles and rheumatology articles.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.