New Xeljanz XR Available for Arthritis

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Nearly 52.5 million people in the US have arthritis, according to an estimate from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Rheumatoid arthritis one of the most common types, and a new drug has just been approved to help make treatment easier. A new, extended-release form of Xeljanz (tofacitinib) recently received approval from the FDA to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

What is Xeljanz XR used for?
Xeljanz XR is recommended for adult patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis—and who have had a poor response to methotrexate, or can no longer tolerate it. That means you’ll likely have tried methotrexate first, and it didn’t work for you.

Is there anything unique about Xeljanz XR?

Yes. Xeljanz XR is a once-daily dosing option (the existing Xeljanz is used twice daily).

Xeljanz XR is the firtst and only once-daily oral Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

How does a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor work?

A JAK inhibitor works deep inside of your cells disrupting activities occurring in signaling pathways. This is believed to play a role in reducing the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

How is Xeljanz available?
Xeljanz was already available in a 5 mg regular release tablet, and the new Xeljanz XR is a 11 mg extended-release tablet.

How is Xeljanz XR taken?
Xeljanz XR is taken once daily with or without food. The tablet must be swallowed whole and intact—it cannot be crushed, split, or chewed.

You can use it with or without other medications for rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the side effects of Xeljanz XR?

The most common side effects associated with Xeljanz XR include upper respiratory tract infections (like colds and sinus infections), headache, diarrhea, stuffy or runny nose, and sore throat.

When will Xeljanz XR be available?
Xeljanz XR is in pharmacies now! It launched in March 2016.

Want more information?

See the press announcement from the manufacturer Pfizer here.

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