Arava (leflunomide) is an FDA-approved medication used for the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis characterized by joint swelling, stiffness, damage, and pain. It contains an active drug called leflunomide and belongs to the drug class called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
Generic name: leflunomide
Brand name: Arava
Uses of Arava
It is used to:
- relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- prevent new or worsening joint damage
- allow you to stay physically active
Arava can also be used as off-label to manage psoriatic arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
How To Take Arava
Your doctor may run tests to make sure you don’t have tuberculosis or other illnesses before starting Arava medication.
Follow your prescription’s instructions. Your doctor may adjust your dose from time to time. Use this medicine only as directed. Do not take it in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Your blood pressure will need to be monitored on a regular basis. Arava can reduce the number of blood cells that help your body fight infections. Your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Based on the findings of these tests, your Arava medication may be temporarily halted.
Your liver function will need to be evaluated on a regular basis, and depending on the results, you may need to discontinue taking Arava.
You may need to be treated with other medicines after you stop taking this prescription to help your body clear leflunomide fast. Leflunomide can linger in your body for up to two years if you don’t use this drug removal process. Pay attention to your doctor’s directions.
If you want to get pregnant after stopping Arava, you’ll need to go through this drug removal process as well.
Arthritis is frequently treated with a cocktail of medications. Follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications. Each drug comes with a medication guide or patient instructions. Do not alter your drug doses or regimen without consulting your doctor.
Keep away from moisture, heat, and light. Store at room temperature.
The following side effects can be associated with taking Aptiom. They include mild and severe side effects.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information on any potential adverse effects. They can provide you with advice on how to deal with any unpleasant side effects.
Mild side effects include:
- back pain
- abdominal pain
- nausea and vomiting
- mouth ulcers
- runny nose
- hair loss
- increased level of liver enzymes
Severe side effects include:
- Allergic reaction
- High blood pressure
- Nerve damage
- Decreased immunity
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)
- Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN)
- Liver problems
- Bone marrow problems
- Fetal harm, if used during pregnancy
- Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) Syndrome
Severe side effects are uncommon, but they can happen. If you experience any major side effects, contact your doctor at once. If your symptoms are life-threatening or you believe you’re having a medical emergency, dial 911 or your local emergency number.
If you’re pregnant, don’t take Arava. While using Arava and until you’ve completed a “drug elimination” process, use birth control to avoid becoming pregnant.
Arava has the potential to affect the liver. Tell your doctor if you have a history of liver disease or if you take any other medications, such as aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil/Motrin for pain or arthritis, antibiotics for tuberculosis or other infections, hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy, chemotherapy, cholesterol-lowering medication, heart medication, or blood pressure medication.
Your liver function will be evaluated frequently, and depending on the results, you may need to discontinue taking Arava.