Back to all discussions

Thoughts on Xeljanz?

Was on Enbrel for over 10years. Had to go to a new doctor and he said sometimes at the 10 year mark they see the medication not working any more so he prescribed Xeljanz.

I’m hesitant because of side effects and what I’ve read. I need advice from you all. What should I ask the doctor for a safer alternative? Thank you. I have nobody to talk to so any help and advice will be greatly appreciated.

  1. Hey there , we appreciate you reaching out to us. I hope that others can chime in with their own personal experiences and thoughts regarding Xeljanz. Like with any treatment options, there are potential for side effects and it's often about finding the best balance for you- are the side effects worth the relief you are feeling? Often we won't know the answer to that until we personally take it. If you do not feel comfortable trying Xeljanz, you should ask your doctor about their thoughts on you starting with a different new medication instead. In the meantime, I thought I would share some content with you from our site about Xeljanz. First, two threads where other community members asked similar questions: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/q-and-a/tried-xeljanz/ https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/topic/xeljanz-anyone/ And an article written by one of our team members, about her experience: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/new-med-new-life/ Of course each persons experience is so different, but it's definitely helpful hearing from others. Please do keep us updated and never hesitate to reach out to us again. Best, Ashley (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member)

    1. Hi soone. As Ashley mentioned, everyone's experience with treatments is individual. The major difference between Enbrel and Xeljanz is that the former is a biologic, while Xeljanz is a JAK inhibitor. They both act on the immune system in a similar manor, but have different mechanisms to do so and the JAK inhibitors do not use living biologic material (this is why they can be in a pill form). It may be worth asking your doctor why they are interested in this particular drug and also to voice your concerns. I can tell you that my wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here), went from Enbril to Humira to Xeljanz and did not have a positive experience with Xeljanz from either a disease control of side effect perspective (predominantly headaches and gastrointestinal issues). That said, we know others who have used Xeljanz successfully for years. Hoping you get some relief from what ever treatment you chose and please feel free to keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

      1. Hey ! Thanks for reaching out. I also wanted to chime in because I was on Xeljanz. I have heard people have quite successful results on it. I, personally, was not one of them. While I did not have any side effects whatsoever, I also had no disease management. My rheumatologist quickly put me back on Orencia.

        I second Richard in asking why your doctor is keen on Xeljanz and why he/she does not want to try a different biologic. It is definitely important that you also express your concerns! After all, this medication is going into your body!

        Here is a link to the different biologics available in treating RA: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/treatment/biologics-treatment-options-for-ra/

        I thought you might find that useful. All the best, Monica

        1. Thank you Monica for the link and response. I’ve read through it three time and am still confused as to which one is safer. I don’t understand English very well so I’m struggling to understand how JAX inhibitor and biologic and which is safer. I’m going to read again.

          or create an account to reply.