Reviewing XELJANZ as an Autoimmune Disease Treatment

Christian Worstell
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. 

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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 $545 for 2024. 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.

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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