Information for the public

Tofacitinib (Xeljanz), taken with a drug called methotrexate, is available on the NHS. It is a possible treatment for severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adults, only if:

  • the disease has not responded well enough to conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or
  • the disease has not responded well enough to other DMARDs, including at least 1 biological DMARD, or the person cannot have them, and they cannot have rituximab.

Tofacitinib can be used alone if people cannot have methotrexate.

Treatment should be stopped after 6 months if the rheumatoid arthritis is not responding well enough.

If you are not eligible for tofacitinib but are already taking it, you should be able to continue until you and your doctor decide when best to stop.

Is this treatment right for me?

Your healthcare professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. Read more about making decisions about your care.

Questions to think about

  • How well does it work compared with other treatments?
  • What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
  • How will the treatment affect my day-to-day life?
  • What happens if the treatment does not work?
  • What happens if I do not want to have treatment? Are there other treatments available?

Information and support

NHS Choices may be a good place to find out more.

These organisations can give you advice and support:

NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by these organisations.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2700-5

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