Leflunomide (brand name Arava) is a DMARD used to treat the swelling and pain of arthritis.
How does leflunomide work?
Leflunomide works by blocking the formation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA is important for developing cells,including cells of the immune system.
How is it taken?
Leflunomide is available in 10, 20, or 100 mg tablets. It is usually taken once per day.
Most medications may be taken safely with leflunomide, and your doctor may choose to prescribe other medications including acetaminophen, prednisone, other DMARDs, and biologics.
The effects of leflunomide may not be noticed for several weeks. The complete benefits may not be experienced for six months after started the medication.
The common side effects of leflunomide include nausea, diarrhea, skin rash, and hair thinning or loss (reversible once medication is stopped).
Rare side effects include liver irritation (monitored by routine blood tests), increased blood pressure, low white blood cells, and infection.
Leflunomide may cause miscarriages and birth defects in children of men or women on leflunomide; therefore, birth control methods should be used while on leflunomide. If you are considering becoming pregnant, discuss this with your doctor. Leflunomide can stay in the body for up to two years after treatment is stopped.
This information is provided for general education purposes only. A qualified health care provider should be consulted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment of any medical conditions. Medical advice should never be disregarded because of the contents of this site.