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Terms Of Use

LEFLUNOMIDE

Brand Name(s) : Arava
Warnings
Uses
Side Effects
Precautions
Interactions
Overdose

LEFLUNOMIDE WARNINGS

Leflunomide should be used with caution in: patients with a history of tuberculosis, patients with interstitial lung disease.

It should not be used by:

  • Women who are pregnant or who are breastfeeding
  • Women of childbearing age who are not using reliable contraception during treatment with this drug
  • People with liver problems
  • People with moderate-to-severe kidney problems
  • People with serious infections
  • People who are immunodeficient (e.g. those with AIDS)
  • People with hypoproteinaemia (an abnormally low level of protein in the blood, for example in nephrotic syndrome)
  • People with significantly impaired bone-marrow function including anaemia (lack of red blood cells) or lack of white blood cells or another blood constituent called platelets (thrombocytopenia) owing to causes other than rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.

Also see list of precautions and interactions.

STORAGE

Store in a dry place and protect from light.

LEFLUNOMIDE USES

What is it used for?

  • Leflunomide is used to treat arthritis (conditions involving damage to the joints).
  • It is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, sometimes known as a DMARD.
  • It is used to slow down the progression of arthritis.
  • In general this drug is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (an inflammatory form of arthritis that causes joint pain and damage) and psoriatic arthritis (an inflammatory joint disease associated with the skin disease called psoriasis).
  • Benefits of being on this drug can include improvements in the underlying rheumatic illness, which may increase movement and function of affected joints.

Listed below are the typical uses of leflunomide.

  • Treatment of moderate-to-severe active rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treatment of active psoriatic arthritis.

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list.

HOW TO USE/TAKE

How often do I take it?

  • Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily, with or without food. Tablets should be swallowed whole and taken with water.
  • Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told not to by your doctor.
  • It may take many weeks before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • This drug may cause dizziness. If affected in this way avoid driving or operating machinery. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well, unless your doctor tells you to stop.

LEFLUNOMIDE SIDE EFFECTS

If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin); fever, sore throat, cough or breathing problems; pale skin with tiredness and unusual bruising; skin rash or mouth ulcers.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.

LEFLUNOMIDE PRECAUTIONS

Before taking leflunomide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other antirheumatic drugs; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist in case of: liver problems, moderate-to-severe kidney problems, a serious infection, the immunodeficient (e.g. those with AIDS), or patients with hypoproteinaemia (an abnormally low level of protein in the blood, for example in nephrotic syndrome), or significantly impaired bone-marrow function including anaemia (lack of red blood cells) or lack of white blood cells or another blood constituent called platelets (thrombocytopenia) owing to causes other than rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.

Before using this medication tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: any lung problems, or a history of tuberculosis.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Yes. It is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol while taking leflunomide.

The elderly: leflunomide can be used in the elderly.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below

PREGNANCY

Leflunomide is not safe to take if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.

BREAST FEEDING

Leflunomide is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.

LEFLUNOMIDE INTERACTIONS

Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.

This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious, possibly fatal interactions may occur:

  • Live vaccines

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and non-prescription/herbal products you may use, especially of:

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using leflunomide, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use.

LEFLUNOMIDE OVERDOSE

The effects of overdose with leflunomide are: stomachpain, feeling sick (nausea), diarrhoea, elevated liver enzyme levels in the blood, anaemia (lack or red blood cells), leucopoenia (lack of white blood cells), itching and rash.

People who have taken too much leflunomide should seek assistance from a healthcare professional.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of leflunomide or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.

MISSED DOSE

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited or TicTac Communications Ltd. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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