Table of Contents > Drug > Leflunomide Print

Leflunomide

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Notes
Related terms
Uses
Dosing
Safety
Author information

Notes

    Related terms
    • Brand Names: U.S.: Arava®
    • Brand Names: Canada: Apo-Leflunomide®;Arava®;Mylan-Leflunomide;Novo-Leflunomide;PHL-Leflunomide;PMS-Leflunomide;Sandoz-Leflunomide
    • Mexican Brand Names: Arava
    • Pharmacologic Category: Antirheumatic, Disease Modifying

    Uses
    • It is used to treat arthritis.
    • It is an arthritis-changing drug. It lowers swelling and helps lower signs and protect joints from more harm.

    Dosing

    How to take

    • You will need a TB (tuberculosis) test before starting this drug.
    • Take this drug at the same time of day.
    • Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.
    • If you are a woman of childbearing age, take a pregnancy test before starting this drug.

    Missed Dose

    • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
    • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
    • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
    • Do not change the dose or stop this drug. Talk with the doctor.

    Storage

    • Store at room temperature.
    • Protect from light.
    • Protect from water. Do not store in a bathroom or kitchen.

    Safety



    Warnings

    • Do not take if you are pregnant. Use a helpful kind of birth control during care and after care ends. A pregnancy test will be done to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting this drug.
    • This drug may cause liver problems. Closely read the part in this leaflet which lists when to call your doctor.
    • Unsafe side effects may happen. This drug cannot be taken while you are taking some other drugs. Check all the drugs you are taking with your doctor.

    Avoid

    • If you have an allergy to leflunomide or any other part of this drug.
    • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs. Make sure to tell about the allergy and what signs you had. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
    • Do not use this drug if you are pregnant and do not get pregnant. Use birth control that you can trust. At the end of care, you will need to get rid of the extra leflunomide in your body. Taking a drug called cholestyramine 3 times a day for 11 days will get rid of most of the drug. Talk with your doctor if you want to get pregnant. You will need to have blood tests showing that your body is free of leflunomide before you stop taking birth control.
    • If you are breast-feeding.

    Precautions

    • If you have liver disease or if you have had hepatitis B or hepatitis C infections, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have a weak immune system or very bad infection, talk with your doctor.
    • If your white blood cell, red blood cell, or platelet counts are low, talk with your doctor.
    • Have your blood pressure checked often. Talk with your doctor.
    • Do not donate blood while using this drug and for 3 months after stopping.
    • Check all drugs you are taking with your doctor. This drug may not mix well with some other drugs.
    • Take good care of your teeth. See a dentist often.
    • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with this drug may either raise the chance of a very bad infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
    • Use birth control that you can trust to stop pregnancy. At the end of care, you will have a process to get rid of the extra leflunomide in your body. Taking a drug called cholestyramine 3 times a day for 11 days will get rid of most of the drug. Talk with your doctor if you want to get pregnant. You will need to have blood tests showing that your body is free of leflunomide before you stop taking birth control.
    • If you are a woman of childbearing age, have your blood work checked after finishing cholestyramine.

    Side Effects

    • Lung infection.
    • Upset stomach or throwing up. Many small meals, good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.
    • Loose stools.
    • Hair loss. Hair most often grows back when this drug is stopped.
    • Harm to the liver may rarely happen.

    Contact a healthcare provider

    • If you think there was an overdose, call your local poison control center or ER right away.
    • Signs of a very bad reaction to the drug. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
    • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.5°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Very bad belly pain.
    • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
    • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet.
    • Not able to eat.
    • Dark urine or yellow skin or eyes.
    • Feeling very tired or weak.
    • Any rash.
    • For women, if you get pregnant during or after care.
    • Health problem is not better or you are feeling worse.

    General Statements

    • If you have a very bad allergy, wear an allergy ID at all times.
    • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
    • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
    • Most drugs may be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.
    • In Canada, take any unused drugs to the pharmacy. Also, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/disposal-defaire-eng.php#th to learn about the right way to get rid of unused drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Call your doctor for help with any side effects. If in the U.S., you may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or if in Canada, you may also call Health Canada's Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.
    • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including OTC, natural products, or vitamins.

    Author information
    • Copyright © 1978-2010 Lexi-Comp Inc. All rights reserved.

    Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


    The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.


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