If you have certain autoimmune conditions, your doctor might suggest Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR (tofacitinib) as a treatment option for you. These drugs are approved for use in certain adults* to treat:
Xeljanz can also be prescribed to treat a kind of juvenile idiopathic arthritis in certain children.*
Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR come as tablets that you swallow. Xeljanz also comes as a liquid solution that you swallow.
This article describes the dosages of Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR, as well as their strengths and how to take these drugs. To learn more about Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR, see this in-depth article.
Note: This article covers standard dosages provided by the drugs’ manufacturer. But when taking Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
* Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR can be prescribed when certain drugs haven’t worked or have caused bothersome side effects.
The dosages of Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR, as well as the drugs’ forms and strengths, are described below.
What are the forms of Xeljanz?
Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR come as tablets that you swallow.
Xeljanz is the immediate-release form, which releases the drug all at once into your body. Xeljanz XR is the long-acting form. This tablet releases the drug slowly over a certain amount of time after you take it.
Xeljanz also comes as a liquid solution that you swallow.
What strengths does Xeljanz come in?
These drugs come in the following strengths:
- Xeljanz tablets: 5 milligrams (mg) and 10 mg
- Xeljanz XR tablets: 11 mg and 22 mg
- Xeljanz solution: 1 mg per milliliter (mL)
What are the standard dosages of Xeljanz?
The information below describes dosages that are commonly prescribed or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis
- Xeljanz: 5 mg twice daily
- Xeljanz XR: 11 mg once daily
The dose for RA is the same as the dosing for psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Dosage for ulcerative colitis (UC)
Dosing for ulcerative colitis depends on whether you’re taking Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR to induce (cause) remission or maintain remission. Remission refers to having few or no UC symptoms.
You’ll take an induction dosage to help induce remission. Then you’ll take an ongoing maintenance dosage to keep your symptoms in remission. This is shown in the following table.
|Induction dosage||Maintenance dosage|
|Xeljanz||10 mg twice daily for 8 weeks, up to a maximum of 16 weeks||5 mg twice daily|
|Xeljanz XR||22 mg once daily for 8 weeks, up to a maximum of 16 weeks||11 mg once daily|
What are the dosages of Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR for children?
Xeljanz is approved to treat polyarticular course juvenile idiopathic arthritis in some children. For this purpose, the drug’s dosage is based on your child’s body weight in kilograms (kg):*
|Child’s weight||Recommended dosage|
|40 kg (about 88 pounds [lb] or more)||5 mL of Xeljanz solution twice daily; their doctor may switch them to a 5 mg tablet twice daily after starting with the solution|
|20 kg to fewer than 40 kg (about 44 lb to fewer than 88 lb)||4 mL of Xeljanz solution twice daily|
|10 kg to fewer than 20 kg (about 22 lb to fewer than 44 lb)||3.2 mL of Xeljanz solution twice daily|
Xeljanz tablets are only prescribed for children who weigh 40 kg or more. Xeljanz solution can be prescribed regardless of weight.
Xeljanz XR is not approved for use in children.
* 1 kg equals about 2.2 lb.
Are Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR taken long term?
Yes, Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR are usually prescribed as long-term treatments. If you and your doctor determine that the drug is safe and effective for you, it’s likely that you’ll take it long term.
Your doctor may lower your dosage or prescribe a lower than usual dosage of Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR if you have liver problems or kidney problems. Your doctor may also adjust your dosage if you take certain other medications.
It’s important to note that Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR both have a
If you have symptoms of a blood clot while taking Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR, your doctor will likely recommend that you stop taking the drug.
* Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR also have boxed warnings for cancer, immune system problems, severe infection, and increased risk of death in some people. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). See “Boxed warnings” at the top of this article for details.
If you miss a dose of Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR, take the dose as soon as you remember. If it’s nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as scheduled. Do not take two doses of Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR at the same time.
If you need help remembering to take your dose on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
The dosage of Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:
- the kind and severity of the condition you’re taking Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR to treat
- your age
- which form of the drug you’re taking
- any side effects you have (see this article for details)
- other conditions you may have (see “Dosage adjustments” under “What is Xeljanz’s and Xeljanz XR’s dosage?” just above)
- body weight, in children
Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR each come as tablets that you take by mouth. If you’re taking Xeljanz twice daily, take your doses about 12 hours apart. If you take Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR once daily, you can take it at any time during the day. But try to take your dose at about the same time each day.
You should swallow Xeljanz XR tablets whole. They should not be crushed, chewed, or broken. It’s also recommended to swallow Xeljanz tablets whole. But you might be able to crush, chew, or break Xeljanz tablets, depending on whether your doctor says this is safe for you. If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips.
Xeljanz also comes as a liquid solution that’s swallowed. This form of the drug comes with a dosing syringe that’s used to measure the solution before swallowing. This form of Xeljanz is usually prescribed for children.
You can take Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR with or without food.
For information on Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR expiration, storage, and disposal, see this article.
Accessible drug containers and labels
If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies may provide medication labels that:
- have large print or use braille
- feature a code that you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.
If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to supply Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also have some tips that can help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.
Do not take more Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR than your doctor prescribes. Taking more than this can lead to serious side effects.
What to do in case you take too much Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR
Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
The sections above describe the standard dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR for you, they will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Remember, you shouldn’t change your dosage of Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take these drugs exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- When would my induction dosage for ulcerative colitis (UC) be longer than 8 weeks?
- Would my risk of side effects change with a different dosage of Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR?
- If I’m taking other medications along with Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR, will my dosage change?
If you have UC, consider subscribing to Healthline’s IBD newsletter to get information and advice related to your condition. Or if you’re living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you can subscribe to Healthline’s RA newsletter for tips on pain management and more.
Will my doctor change my dose of Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR based on certain lab test results?Anonymous
Your doctor will monitor your condition with lab tests regularly while you take Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR. If your test results show a change in your kidney function or liver function, it’s likely that your doctor will adjust your dosage. You may have your dosage adjusted due to other lab tests that your doctor recommends, as well.
If you have questions about what lab tests to expect during Xeljanz or Xeljanz XR treatment, you can talk with your doctor.Dena Westphalen, PharmDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.