The Dangers of Xeljanz | Levin Papantonio Rafferty - Personal Injury Law Firm

The Dangers of Xeljanz

Patients who have taken the drug Xeljanz to treat certain forms of arthritis and ulcerative colitis are learning that the cure could be worse than the disease.

In early February 2021, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert to patients, pharmacies, and health professionals warning of serious dangers associated with using Xeljanz. Specifically, the drug has been linked to a greater risk of serious heart problems and cancer when compared with an alternative type of drug, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors.

The agency approved labeling Xeljanz with a “black box warning,” the most stringent of FDA warnings, intended to bring awareness to a prescription drug serious or life-threatening risks.

Just two years earlier, in February 2019, the FDA had issued an alert advising that a safety clinical trial showed a heightened risk of blood clots in the lung (and death) when rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients took a twice-daily 10mg dose of Xeljanz.

Tips for Patients Who Take Xeljanz

The FDA stresses that patients should consult with their health care providers before discontinuing their use of Xeljanz (tofacitinib). If a patient has a history of heart problems or blood clots, it is crucial they inform their doctor of this history. The agency further advises that patients seek immediate medical attention if they experience atypical symptoms after taking Xeljanz.

Symptoms of a blood clot could include sudden shortness of breath and chest pain that becomes worse when the patient breathes. The patient might discover swelling in their arms or legs, and they might feel tenderness, pain, or discolored skin in the affected arms or legs. Excessive sweating and coughing up blood could also be symptomatic of a blood clot in the lungs and demand immediate medical attention.

Suggestions for Health Care Professionals

The FDA urges health care providers to discontinue tofacitinib unless a patient has not responded to or experienced a reaction to TNF blockers. In addition, patients with a heightened risk of thrombosis should not be given Xeljanz, the FDA cautions.

The agency also encourages doctors and patients to report side effects and any adverse events of the drug to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

Xeljanz Lawsuits

Approved in 2012 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and again in 2018 for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, Xeljanz works by decreasing the activity of overactive immune systems that cause serious inflammation. It has been prescribed to hundreds of thousands of patients, and manufacturer Pfizer reportedly made around $1.7 billion from the drug in 2018.

With the FDA’s strict warnings about the dangers of pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), serious heart problems, and even death, the legal industry has stepped up, and lawyers are now accepting cases to help patients who have suffered illness or the death of a loved one due to Xeljanz.

Why Choose Our Law Firm

Our law firm started handling personal injury cases in 1955. Today, we are recognized as a national leader in lawsuits involving drug injuries. We have received over 150 jury verdicts for $1 million or more, and have won jury verdicts and settlements in excess of $4 billion.

We are the founder of Mass Torts Made Perfect. This is a national conference attended by 1,500 lawyers each year where we teach how to successfully handle lawsuits against drug companies. For more information, please visit our About Us section.

in Business 65 years * $4 Billion in Verdicts & Settlements * Best Law Firms: U.S. News & World Reports * Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame * SuperLawyers
Our Fees & Costs

Our lawyers provide free confidential case evaluations, and we never charge any fees or costs unless you first recover.

The contingency fee we charge ranges from 20% to 40%. The amount we charge is based on how much we recover for you. To review a summary of our fees and costs, click Fees & Costs.

Free Case Consultation

To contact us for a free case evaluation, you can call us at (800) 277-1193. You also can request an evaluation by clicking Free & Confidential Xeljanz Evaluation Form. This form will be immediately reviewed by one of our attorneys handling the Xeljanz lawsuits.

Read More

Will My Xeljanz Case be Handled as a Class Action?

A class action is a lawsuit where a few individuals represent the interest of many individuals. The court rulings are binding on all persons who are a part of the class action. All class members are required to accept the settlement, even if an individual is going to receive little or no compensation.

Our Xeljanz attorneys will not be pursuing class actions for our clients. Instead, we represent each client on his/her specific facts, and we evaluate each client's damages on his/her specific facts. Each of our clients has the option of settling or not settling his/her case.

For a detailed discussion on class actions, mass torts, and multidistrict litigation, please visit our Class Action Mass Torts Page.