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Leflunomide

Information

Uses

Leflunomide is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

How it works

Leflunomide blocks the action of certain chemical messengers that are responsible for inflammation, swelling and redness associated with certain joint diseases.

Common side effects

Indigestion, Altered taste, Decreased appetite, Headache, Nausea, Vomiting, Respiratory tract infection, Ringing in ear, Allergic reaction, Optic neuropathy, Motor neuritis, Diarrhoea, Peripheral sensory neuropathy, Reduced blood platelets, Decreased white blood cell count, Protein in urine

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Expert advice

  • Do not drive or operate machinery because you may feel sleepy or dizzy while being treated with leflunomide.
  • Do not start leflunomide, if you have a kidney, liver, blood or lung problem; have low level of proteins in blood (hypoproteinemia), low level of any blood cells, or suffering from any disease with lowered immunity like tuberculosis or AIDS.
  • Do not start leflunomide, if you have intolerance to some sugars because this medicine contains lactose (a type of sugar).
  • Do not take leflunomide, if you are going to receive any live vaccine; or if you experience a widespread rash with blisters and peeling skin (Stevens-Johnson syndrome), widespread peeling of the superficial layers of the skin (toxic epidermal necrolysis),or drug reaction with eosinophilia and systematic symptoms (DRESS).
  • Avoid using leflunomide, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions

Leflunomide

Q. Is leflunomide an NSAID, immunosuppressant, blood thinner, chemotherapeutic agent?
No, leflunomide is not an NSAID, blood thinner or chemotherapeutic agent. It is an immunosuppressant anti-rheumatic drug

Q. Can I take Tylenol (acetaminophen), or ibuprofen with leflunomide, or Arava?
You can take Tylenol or ibuprofen with leflunomide or Arava which is brand name of leflunomide

Q. Does leflunomide cause weight or hair loss, bruising, high blood pressure, nausea, cancer, fatigue, or weight gain?
Leflunomide may cause weight or hair loss, bruising, high blood pressure, and nausea (urge to vomit), but it is not known to cause weight gain, fatigue or cancer

Q. Does leflunomide help psoriasis?
Yes, leflunomide is used in the treatment of psoriasis.


Content on this page was last updated on 13 January, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)