What is Leflunomide (Arava®)?
Leflunomide is an anti-inflammatory agent used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. It works by suppressing the blood cells that cause inflammation. The brand name for this medicine is Arava®.
How do I take it?
Arava® is taken once a day. The pills are 10 or 20-mg. each and the usual dose is 20 mgs. per day. Follow your doctor’s directions. Do not take more or less medicine than ordered. This medicine can be taken with food.
What about side effects?
Arava® may cause birth defects in the children of both men and women taking this drug. If you are pregnant or considering having a child, discuss this with your doctor before beginning this medication. Use of an effective form of birth control is critical throughout the course of this treatment and up to 2 years after it is stopped. A prescribed therapy may be required to remove the drug from your system.
Arava® can cause mild liver irritation. Please tell you doctor if you have a history of any alcohol abuse, hepatitis, yellow jaundice, or liver disease. You will have blood tests done periodically to make sure there is no problem with your liver. While on Arava® you should limit yourself to 2 alcoholic beverages per week.
Diarrhea may occur after starting medication but this generally is mild and goes away over time. You may take over the counter imodium or kaopectate. Notify your doctor if the diarrhea is severe or does not get better.
What about other medications?
Arava® is often added to your current medicines to better control your disease. Do not stop your other medications unless directed by your doctor.
What else should I know?
When you are taking Arava®, it is very important that your doctors know if you are taking any other medicine. This includes prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as birth control pills, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
A Federal Drug Administration approved medication guide can be found at: