Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)

Xeljanz (tofacitinib) is a Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug (DMARD) that suppresses the immune system to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Xeljanz is currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis with and without the medication methotrexate. Xeljanz is also used to treat psoriatic arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

Xeljanz belongs to a class of medications known as Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors. It is the first medication of this class to be approved for clinical trials and was first approved for use as a prescription medicine in 2012.

Taking Xeljanz

Xeljanz is one of the few therapies for arthritis that is available as an oral tablet. The standard dose is either one 11 mg tablet taken once a day or a 5 mg tablet, taken twice every day.

Xeljanz does not work right away. It can take about 2 to 8 weeks before patients start feeling better, and it can take 3 to 6 months to feel the maximum effect of this medication. If the dose is changed, it can take 2-8 weeks to feel the effects.

The manufacturer of Xeljanz offers a support program to Canadian patients that are prescribed the medication:

Patient support program enrolment forms

Important Tests and Risks




Xeljanz Quick Reference Guide

Drug Identification Number (DIN)

  • 02423898 (5 mg tablet)
  • 02470608 (11 mg tablet)