Xeljanz (immunosuppressant): fattening? See what your action is

Inflammatory diseases, in general, bring great discomfort to the daily lives of those who suffer from the problem.

Swelling, pain and even difficulty walking are some symptoms that can happen in cases of diseases such as arthritis , for example.

To try to reduce symptoms, there are medications like Xeljanz, which work by reducing inflammatory processes.


What is Xeljanz?

Xeljanz is the trade name of the active ingredient Tofacitinib Citrate, a medicine used to treat ulcerative colitis and psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis.

These diseases are caused by the excess of inflammatory substances produced by the immune system itself, which attack healthy body tissues.

Xeljanz is marketed by Pfizer and registered by Wyeth – pharmaceutical companies – and is administered orally.

What is Xeljanz for?

Xeljanz is used to treat some cases of rheumatoid arthritis , psoriatic arthritis and ulcerative colitis, that is, inflammatory processes. It helps in reducing symptoms such as pain and stiffness, and decreases the chances of disease progression.

Find out more about the cases in which the drug can be used:

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease – when the body itself attacks its healthy cells – characterized by inflammation of the joints and tissues.

Xeljanz is indicated for patients in moderate to severe stage. Its use is recommended for cases where treatment with other medications has not resulted in the expected effect.

Psoriasis Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a problem of inflammatory origin, which affects the joints and also the skin. For every 3 people with cutaneous psoriasis , 1 may have manifestations of arthritis as well.

Xeljanz treatment for the disease is recommended for adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis, who have not achieved the expected response with other medications.

It is also indicated for patients who cannot use the substance methotrexate (used in the treatment of some autoimmune diseases ), as a therapeutic resource, because they have intolerance to the drug.

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a disease in which inflammation of the large intestine occurs, along with the formation of ulcers, that is, superficial lesions.

For the disease, Xeljanz acts both in inducing and maintaining treatment, in adults who have the disease at a moderate to severe level.

It is recommended for situations in which there is intolerance to other medications, or there was not the expected result in previous treatment.

What is the mechanism of action of the active ingredient Tofacitinib Citrate?

Both colitis and arthritis are diseases in which the immune system produces

inflammatory substances called cytokines, causing inflammatory conditions in the body.

Tofacitinib Citrate works by inhibiting the activity of enzymes that stimulate the production of cytokine, the main substance that causes inflammation, thereby controlling problems and reducing symptoms. According to the package leaflet, the first effects of the medication can be observed after 2 weeks of use.

How does the package insert indicate using Xeljanz?

According to the package insert, Xeljanz has different indications for use for each clinical condition treated by the medication.

They are:

Rheumatoid arthritis

The recommended dose for cases of rheumatoid arthritis is 5 mg, administered twice a day.

The drug can be used in combination with Disease-Modifying Drugs (Non-biological DMARDs) or with methotrexate – a substance used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Psoriasis arthritis

For cases of psoriatic arthritis, the dose recommended by the package insert is 5 mg administered twice a day.

The use must be made in combination with synthetic antirheumatic drugs (artificially produced).

Ulcerative colitis

The recommended dose for patients with ulcerative colitis problems is 10 mg, administered twice a day.

Treatment should be done for at least 8 weeks.

After that time, the maintenance dose is 5mg, twice a day.

What are the side effects?

Like other medicines, Xeljanz can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Common reactions caused by the drug are:

  • Anemia;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Indigestion;
  • Gastritis;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Fatigue;
  • Swelling in the extremities of the body;
  • Fever;
  • Bronchitis;
  • Gripe;
  • Infection in the nose;
  • Pharynx infection;
  • Pneumonia;
  • Sinusitis;
  • Urinary infection;
  • Weight gain;
  • Alteration in cholesterol;
  • Joint pain;
  • Headache;
  • Insomnia;
  • Cough;
  • Rash;
  • Hypertension.

Among the unusual reactions are:

  • Reduction in defense cells in the blood;
  • Accumulation of fat in the liver;
  • Allergy;
  • Infection of adipose tissue;
  • Inflammation of the stomach;
  • Inflammation of the small intestine;
  • Herpes;
  • Urinary infection;
  • Tuberculosis;
  • Viral infection;
  • Muscle sprain;
  • Dehydration;
  • Increased fats in the blood;
  • Swelling in the joints;
  • Inflammation of the tendons;
  • Numbness and tingling;
  • Lack of air;
  • Redness;
  • Itch.

The rare , but likely to occur, effects are:

  • Bacterial pneumonia;
  • Tuberculosis;
  • Bacterial arthritis;
  • General infection of the organism (sepsis).

It is worth remembering that each organism reacts differently to the use of medication. That way, not all people will necessarily suffer from all the side effects.

Does Xeljanz get fat?

It depends . Weight gain is, according to the package insert, a common side effect, occurring between 1% and 10% of those who used the medication.

However, each person reacts differently to the medication, and the patient will not always have the side effect.

What is the price of Xeljanz 5mg? Where to buy cheaper?

The price of Xeljanz may vary according to the geographic region and establishment of purchase.

In general, the cost of the box with 60 pills is R $ 5,974 *.

If there is a need to compare prices, the Consulta Remédios website can be used , which provides medication values ​​in several pharmacies in each region.

It is possible to buy the drug at special pharmacies and compare prices online or directly at physical establishments.

* Prices consulted in May 2020. Prices may change.

Are you in SUS?

-Yeah . The active ingredient Tofacitinib is part of the National List of Essential Medicines (Rename), that is, the list of drugs distributed by SUS.

However, if the SUS is unable, for some reason, to supply the medication, there is the possibility to request treatment coverage by the State, through a lawsuit.

For that, it is necessary to present some documents and exams, in addition to the medical report and budget in 3 different pharmacies.

Is it approved by ANVISA?

-Yeah . Xeljanz had its first registration with the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) in 2014.

After expiration, he was registered again in the year 2019.

It is part of the therapeutic class of immunosuppressants, that is, of drugs that reduce the unwanted activity of the immune system (such as the attack on healthy cells themselves, in cases of autoimmune diseases).

How to budget?

For cases in which, for some reason, the SUS does not provide the medication and the (a) patient is unable to afford the costs, it is possible to go to court requesting the coverage of treatment by the State.

For that, it is necessary to open a judicial process, with some documents. Between them:

  • Medical report;
  • Exams;
  • Standard requirement;
  • Budget in 3 different pharmacies.

For the realization of the budget, it is possible to obtain assistance in advising on the quotation of high-cost medications, which makes a personalized quotation simply and quickly. Just access the link and fill in the necessary data.

Inflammatory processes like cases of colitis and arthritis, unfortunately, are common. In Brazil, more than 150 thousand cases occur each year.

To reduce discomfort caused by the disease and even prevent its progression, there are some specific medications, including Xeljanz.

The Healthy Minute has other content about diseases and medicines for you! Read more and stay informed!