tofacitinib (as citrate) tablet
Consumer Medicine Information
What is in this leaflet
This leaflet answers some common questions about XELJANZ.
It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking
to your doctor or pharmacist.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking
XELJANZ against the benefits it is expected to have for you.
If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep this leaflet with the medicine.
You may need to read it again.
What XELJANZ is used for
XELJANZ is a medicine that is used to treat:
moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis, a long-term disease that mainly causes
pain and swelling of your joints
active psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints that is often accompanied
It may be used alone or in combination with other oral medicines (such as methotrexate)
when used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
It should be used in combination with other oral medicines (such as methotrexate)
when used to treat psoriatic arthritis.
XELJANZ contains the active ingredient tofacitinib. Tofacitinib belongs to a group
of medicines called Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors. This medicine blocks the activation
of parts of your immune system involved in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
It helps to reduce symptoms such as pain and swelling in your joints and can improve
your performance of daily tasks.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed
Your doctor may have prescribed it for another reason.
This medicine is only available on a prescription from your specialist doctor.
The safety and effectiveness of this medicine in children and adolescents have not
Before you take XELJANZ
When you must not take it
Do not take XELJANZ if you have an allergy to:
the active ingredient, tofacitinib
any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
shortness of breath
wheezing or difficulty breathing
swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
rash, itching or hives
Do not take XELJANZ if you have severe liver problems.
Do not take XELJANZ if you are already using injectable medicines that depress the
immune system, including biologic medicines that block chemical messengers in the
blood which cause inflammation.
Taking XELJANZ with these medicines may increase your risk of infection.
Do not take XELJANZ if you are already using azathioprine or cyclosporin.
Azathioprine and cyclosporin are medicines used to strongly suppress your immune system.
Do not take this medicine after the expiry date printed on the pack or if the packaging
is torn or shows signs of tampering.
If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.
If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.
Before you start to take it
Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives
Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
an infection, including localised infection (e.g. a leg ulcer)
you are being treated for an infection, get a lot of infections or have infections
that keep coming back
diabetes, HIV/AIDS, a weak immune system or chronic lung disease
People with these conditions have a higher chance of developing infections.
hepatitis B or hepatitis C, viruses that affect the liver
tuberculosis or have been in close contact with someone with tuberculosis
a fungal infection
any type of cancer, including skin cancer or a family history of skin cancer
diverticulitis (inflammation in parts of the large intestine) or ulcers in your stomach
liver or kidney problems, including kidney transplant surgery
chest pain or any heart problems
lung disease or shortness of breath
history of allergies or allergic reactions
any other medical conditions.
Your doctor will do blood tests before you start treatment with XELJANZ and while
you are taking it. Depending on the results of your blood tests your doctor may suspend
or discontinue treatment or prescribe you additional medicines.
It is important to tell your doctor if you get symptoms of an infection.
XELJANZ can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. Some people
have serious infections while taking XELJANZ, including tuberculosis and infections
caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses that can spread in your body. In rare cases these
infections can be life threatening.
Symptoms of an infection include fever, sweating or chills; muscle aches; cough, shortness
of breath, weight loss; warm, red or painful skin or sores on your body; diarrhoea
or stomach pain; burning when you urinate or urinating more often than normal, feeling
Symptoms of tuberculosis include persistent cough, coughing up blood, weight loss,
fever and lack of energy.
Your doctor will check for signs and symptoms of tuberculosis before you start treatment.
This will include a thorough medical history, a chest X-ray and other tests. Your
doctor will also monitor you for signs of tuberculosis while you are being treated
Tell your doctor if you have lived in or travelled to countries where there is an
increased chance of getting tuberculosis or fungal infections.
Tell your doctor if you have had shingles (herpes zoster virus).
XELJANZ can reactivate the herpes zoster virus in people who carry this virus.
Tell your doctor if you have Japanese or Korean ancestry.
The risk of shingles may be higher in people with Japanese or Korean ancestry.
Tell your doctor if you are a carrier of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis
C virus (HCV), or if you have hepatitis B or C infection.
HBV or HCV may become active while you are taking XELJANZ in people who carry the
virus in their blood. This has been reported with medicines used to treat rheumatoid
arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, including XELJANZ.
Make sure you are up to date with all vaccinations before starting XELJANZ.
Tell your doctor if you have recently been vaccinated or are scheduled for any vaccines.
Some vaccines should not be given while you are taking XELJANZ. Check with your doctor
before you receive any vaccines. Your doctor will decide whether you need to have
herpes zoster vaccination.
Tell your doctor if you plan to have surgery or a medical procedure.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or are breast-feeding.
XELJANZ should not be taken if you are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant.
Your doctor can discuss with you the risks and benefits involved.
Use effective birth control during treatment with XELJANZ and after the last dose,
for as long as your doctor recommends, if you are a woman of childbearing age.
It is not known if XELJANZ is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed if you are
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell him/her before you start
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including:
all prescription medicines
all medicines, vitamins, herbal supplements or natural therapies you buy without a
prescription from a pharmacy, supermarket, naturopath or health food shop.
Some medicines may be affected by XELJANZ or may affect how well it works. You may
need different amounts of your medicines, or you may need to take different medicines.
Your doctor will advise you.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following:
antibiotics to treat bacterial infections such as rifampicin,
medicines to treat fungal infections, such as fluconazole and ketoconazole
medicines to treat heart rhythm, angina and blood pressure
medicines to suppress your immune system, such as azathioprine, tacrolimus, cyclosporin
any other medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.
XELJANZ must not be taken with some medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic
arthritis such as certolizumab or adalimumab, but can be taken with medicines such
as methotrexate, leflunomide and sulfasalazine.
XELJANZ may be used in combination with methotrexate or sometimes alone when used
to treat rheumatoid arthritis. In general, fewer side effects were seen when XELJANZ
was used alone in rheumatoid arthritis.
Your doctor and pharmacist have more information on medicines to be careful with or
avoid while taking this medicine.
How to take XELJANZ
Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully.
They may differ from the information contained in this leaflet.
If you do not understand the instructions on the label, ask your doctor or pharmacist
How much to take
Your doctor will tell you how many tablets you need to take each day.
The usual dose is one 5 mg tablet taken twice a day.
Your doctor may adjust the dose. This may depend on your medical conditions, results
of your blood tests and whether or not you are taking any other medicines.
How to take it
Swallow the tablets whole with a full glass of water.
You can take XELJANZ with or without food.
When to take it
Take your medicine at about the same time each morning and evening.
It will help you remember when to take it.
How long to take it
Continue taking your medicine for as long as your doctor tells you.
This medicine helps to control your condition, but does not cure it. It is important
to keep taking your medicine even if you feel well.
If you forget to take it
If it is close to your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose
when you are meant to.
Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember, and then go back to taking your medicine
as you would normally.
Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed.
This may increase the chance of you getting an unwanted side effect.
If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some
If you take too much (overdose)
Immediately telephone your doctor or Poisons Information Centre (telephone 13 11 26)
for advice, or go to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital, if you think
that you or anyone else may have taken too much XELJANZ.
Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.
You may need urgent medical attention.
While you are using XELJANZ
Things you must do
Tell your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms of tuberculosis or any other
infection, during or after treatment.
XELJANZ may reduce your body's ability to respond to infections and may make an existing
infection worse or increase the chance of getting a new infection.
Tell your doctor if you notice any new spots on your skin, a spot that looks different,
a sore that doesn't heal, a mole or freckle that has changed size, shape, colour or
Wear sunscreen and a hat when outdoors and avoid getting sunburnt.
Your doctor will conduct regular skin checks for any suspicious spots.
If you are about to be started on any new medicine, tell your doctor and pharmacist
that you are taking XELJANZ.
Tell all doctors, dentists, and pharmacists who treat you that you are taking this
If you are going to have surgery, tell the surgeon or anaesthetist that you are taking
It may affect other medicines used during surgery.
Tell your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while taking this medicine.
Keep all of your doctor's appointments so that your progress can be checked.
Your doctor will do blood tests from time to time to make sure XELJANZ is working
and to check for side effects.
Things you must not do
Do not take XELJANZ to treat any other complaints unless your doctor tells you to.
Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as
Do not stop taking your medicine, or change the dosage, without checking with your
Things to be careful of
Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how XELJANZ affects you.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you
are taking XELJANZ.
All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time
they are not. You may need medical attention if you get some of the side effects.
It can be difficult to tell whether side effects are the result of taking XELJANZ,
effects of your condition or side effects of other medicines you may be taking. For
this reason it is important to tell your doctor of any change in your condition.
If you are over 65 years of age or have diabetes, you have an increased chance of
getting certain side effects including infections. This may also be the case if you
have chronic lung disease.
Asian patients may have an increased risk of getting certain side effects such as
shingles or lung problems.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.
Tell your doctor immediately or go to Emergency Department at your nearest hospital,
if you notice any of the following:
shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing
swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
severe rash, itching or hives
persistent fever, bruising bleeding, paleness
fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, stiff neck and extreme sensitivity to bright light.
The above list includes very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:
signs of an infection, such as fever, sweating and chills, burning when you urinate,
shortness of breath, cough, phlegm, wounds or warm, red or painful skin or sores on
your body, feeling very tired
painful skin rash with blisters
a change in the appearance of a freckle, mole or spot, a sore that doesn't heal
persistent cough, coughing up blood, weight loss, lack of energy
a stomach ache or pain that won't go away, a change in bowel habits
yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, loss of appetite
breathlessness during exercise or a dry cough
tiredness, headaches, shortness of breath when exercising, dizziness, and looking
The above list includes serious side effects that may require urgent medical attention.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
a cold, sore throat, runny or blocked nose, pain in your sinus
stomach pain, indigestion or heart burn
nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation
muscle, joint or back pain
swollen feet or hands
cold sore blisters
skin, redness or itching
trouble sleeping (insomnia).
The above list includes the more common side effects of your medicine.
Some side effects (for example, changes in cholesterol level or blood pressure) can
only be found when your doctor does tests from time to time to check your progress.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything else that is making you feel
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some people.
People with rheumatoid arthritis or problems with their immune system are at increased
risk of cancer, including lymphoma (symptoms include swelling of the glands in the
neck, armpit or groin).
As with some other treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, XELJANZ
may increase the risk of skin cancer. It is not known if XELJANZ increases the risk
of other cancers.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects.
You may not experience any of them.
After using XELJANZ
Keep your tablets in the pack until it is time to take them.
If you take the tablets out of the pack they may not keep well.
Keep your tablets in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 30°C.
Do not store XELJANZ or any other medicine in the bathroom or near a sink. Do not
leave it on a window sill or in the car.
Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.
Keep it where children cannot reach it.
A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place
to store medicines.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking this medicine or the expiry date has passed,
ask your pharmacist what to do with any medicine that is left over.
What it looks like
XELJANZ 5 mg is a white, round, film-coated tablet with "Pfizer" on one side and "JKI
5" on the other side.
XELJANZ film-coated tablets are available in the following pack sizes:
blister packs of 14 and 56 tablets
XELJANZ contains 5 mg of tofacitinib as the active ingredient.
It also contains:
This medicine does not contain sucrose.
XELJANZ is supplied in Australia by:
Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd
38-42 Wharf Road
West Ryde NSW 2114
Toll Free number: 1800 675 229
Australian registration numbers
5 mg tablets (blister pack): AUST R 196987
5 mg tablets (bottle): AUST R 233439
Date of preparation
This leaflet was prepared in November 2018.
® = Registered Trademark
© Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd