Reviewing XELJANZ as an Autoimmune Disease Treatment

In this article...
  • XELJANZ is a prescription drug used to treat certain types of arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Learn how the medication may ease autoimmune symptoms.

XELJANZ is a prescription medication for ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This drug comes in immediate-release and extended-release versions and does not have a generic form.

How Does XELJANZ Work?

XELJANZ treats conditions that affect the immune system. Symptoms such as joint pain develop when the immune system overreacts to environmental stimuli. This medication suppresses the immune system to alleviate or eliminate the inflammation that leads to discomfort.

What Are the Side Effects of XELJANZ?

If you take XELJANZ, you may experience a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea or headache. However, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take this medication.

Talk to your doctor if you already take medications that suppress the immune system, since combining these drugs with XELJANZ increases the risk of developing bacterial, viral or fungal infections as a side effect. People with tuberculosis, diabetes or lung disease also have a higher risk of this side effect. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice muscle aches, cough, sweating, fever, chills or other signs of infection. 

Does XELJANZ Cause Weight Gain?

Neither XELJANZ's immediate or extended-release version causes weight gain. However, some people experience weight loss associated with other side effects of the drug, such as nausea and diarrhea. 

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking XELJANZ?

Taking XELJANZ with alcohol is not recommended. The liver processes both these substances, so the combination can result in liver damage

Does Medicare Cover XELJANZ?

Some Medicare prescription drug plans cover XELJANZ after you meet the deductible of $480 for 2022. Review the formulary, or drug list, of your Part D or Advantage plan to find out if you can obtain coverage for XELJANZ if your doctor prescribes this drug.

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