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Can I drink alcohol while taking Xeljanz?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Dec 23, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Although the manufacturer of Xeljanz, Pfizer, does not warn of an interaction between alcohol and Xeljanz, you should not drink excessive amounts of alcohol while you are taking Xeljanz because both are metabolized by the liver and can cause liver damage. The risk may be higher if you take other immunosuppressants or medications that also affect the liver, such as methotrexate, or already have liver disease. There have already been numerous Xeljanz lawsuits filed by people who believe Pfizer should have warned them about the dangers of combining it with alcohol.

Ask your doctor if you can safely drink alcohol occasionally while taking Xeljanz. Your doctor may wish to order liver function tests to see how your liver is coping with your current treatment regimen. Studies have shown that approximately 19% of people taking Xeljanz have ALT levels above the upper limit of normal (ULN); 1 to 3% had readings more than three times the ULN. Increased AST levels were also reported in approximately 15% of people taking Xeljanz. ALT and AST levels are considered by doctors to be important markers of liver damage.

Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate) is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, polyarticular course juvenile idiopathic arthritis, active ankylosing spondylitis, and ulcerative colitis. It is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) and a small molecule drug, rather than a biological agent.

References
  • Xeljanz. Updated 10/2020. Pfizer Laboratories Div Pfizer Inc https://www.drugs.com/pro/xeljanz.html
  • Xeljanz and Alcohol – A Toxic Combination? Shouse Injury Law Group. https://www.shouselaw.com/torts/xeljanz/alcohol/

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