Leflunomide Medication: Side Effects, Uses, Interaction and Precautions

Leflunomide Medication

GENERIC NAME: Leflunomide
BRAND NAME: Arava®
DRUG CLASS: Antirheumatics, Selective immunosuppressants

WHAT IS LEFLUNOMIDE?


Leflunomide is an oral medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It affects the immune system and works reduce swelling and inflammation in the body. It comes in the form of tablet (10 mg; 20 mg).

LEFLUNOMIDE SIDE EFFECTS:


Common Leflunomide side-effects may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Back pain
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Leg cramps
  • Dry skin
  • Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet

Some side effects can be serious. Call your doctor once if you have following symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Rash with or without a fever
  • Itching
  • Mouth sores
  • Difficulty breathing
  • New or worsening cough
  • Chest pain
  • Pale skin
  • Blisters or peeling of skin

LEFLUNOMIDE OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS:


Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Pale skin
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

LEFLUNOMIDE INTERACTIONS:


Leflunomide, when taken along with certain other medication, may lead to severe reactions in the body. This medication should not be taken with the following medicines due to severe side effects it may cause to the patients:

  • Anticoagulants or blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin Jantoven)
  • Cholestyramine (Prevalite)
  • Gold compounds such as auranofin (Ridaura)
  • Penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen)
  • Tolbutamide
  • Medications to treat cancer
  • Other drugs that suppress the immune system including cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran), tacrolimus (Astagraf, Prograf) and sirolimus (Rapamune)

PRECAUTIONS:


Tell your doctor or health care provider, if you are allergic to it or if you have a history of any other allergies.

Before using Leflunomide medication, tell your doctor or health care provider about your medical history, especially of:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Bone marrow/blood disorder
  • Lung disease
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Immune system disorder such as HIV infection
  • Current or recent infection such as tuberculosis

You should not take this medication during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. It is recommended to take a pregnancy test before starting this medication. Men and women must use effective forms of birth control such as emergency contraceptive pills and condoms while taking this medication.

Leflunomide medication may pass into breast milk. It could have some unwanted effects on a nursing infant. Tell your doctor or health care provider if you are breast-feeding.

Leflunomide may cause hypertension or high blood pressure. It is important to check your blood pressure before starting treatment and regularly while you’re taking this drug.

Do not have any live vaccine while taking this medication, or you could develop a serious infection. Live vaccines include mumps, measles, polio, rotavirus, typhoid, rubella (MMR), yellow fever, zoster (shingles), varicella (chickenpox) and influenza vaccine. Consult your doctor for more details.

This medicine may decrease your ability to fight against infections. Tell your doctor if you have any infection symptoms such as fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms. If you experience any of the following symptoms while taking Leflunomide, call your doctor:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Area of warm, swollen, red, or painful skin
  • Painful, difficult, or frequent urination

Avoid being near individuals who have colds, flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not drink alcohol while using Leflunomide. It can make you more dizzy.

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