Arava (Leflunomide) is an anti-inflammatory medication known as a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) because it not only decreases the pain and swelling of arthritis but also can decrease damage to joints and long-term disability.
Arava may also be marketed as: Afiancen, Arabloc, Leflunomid, Leflunomide, Leflunomidum.
*Arava® is manufactured by Aventis Pharmaceuticals
Leflunomide is used to treat active rheumatoid arthritis in adults to reduce signs and symptoms, slow down damage to joints, and improve physical function. It works by suppressing your immune system, since rheumatoid arthritis is caused by damage from an overactive immune system.
Common Side Effects Include:
- Nausea, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, mild dizziness, and headache may occur. If these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of the following unlikely but serious side effects occur:
- hair loss, chest pain, back pain, mouth sores, muscle cramping, numbness/tingling sensations.
- Leflunomide has rarely caused serious (possibly fatal) infections and blood disorders due to suppressing the bone marrow and immune system.
Tell your doctor immediately if signs of infection (such as fever), extreme weakness/fatigue or easy bruising/bleeding develop. Leflunomide may need to be stopped. The elimination procedure using cholestyramine or charcoal may be required. Consult your doctor for more details. Leflunomide has rarely caused serious (possibly fatal) liver disease, especially in people with other risks for liver disease.
Tell your doctor immediately if persistent nausea or vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, or yellowing eyes/skin develop. Leflunomide may need to be stopped. In the unlikely event you have an allergic reaction to this drug, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor.
Before taking Leflunomide, tell your doctor if you are allergic to Leflunomide or any other drugs.
Tell your doctor what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially cholestyramine (Cholybar, Questran), colestipol (Colestid), felbamate (Felbatol), mercaptopurine (Purinethol), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), tolbutamide (Orinase), troglitazone (Rezulin), and vitamins.
Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease, hepatitis, severe infections, or conditions affecting the bone marrow or the immune system (including human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]). Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. If you are planning to father a child, you should talk to your doctor about stopping Leflunomide prior to conception. You should not receive any vaccinations while taking Leflunomide unless you have talked with your doctor. You should know that there is a special treatment for removing Leflunomide from your body once you stop taking it. Ask your doctor for more information about this treatment.