Xeljanz: An Oral Biologic RA Treatment

Xeljanz (tofacitinib) was approved in November of 2012 for treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe RA who have had an inadequate response to methotrexate. The extended release Xeljanz XR was approved in February 2016.

Xeljanz is the first oral biologic in a new class of drugs called Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors. Xeljanz is given twice daily in pill form if you have had an inadequate response to methotrexate; the XR form is given once daily. It can be used alone or with nonbiologic DMARDs such as methotrexate.

Like other biologics, Xeljanz may be associated with serious side effects such as infections, cancer, and stomach or intestinal tears. Discuss the benefits and risks of this therapy with your doctor.