What is Arava?
The generic medication Leflunomide came as a brand name Arava and was used to reduce inflammation and swelling. It affects the immunity system and by which it helps in the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors may prescribe this medication alone and combine other medicines to treat other symptoms that are not listed here.
It relates to the group of remedies known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). It decreases inflammation and slows down the condition’s progress that can help improve the physical activity of those who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant, then do not use this medication. If it is necessary for you to take this medicine, please use birth control options to prevent pregnancy and continue using birth control options until you are under Arava therapy.
Arava medication can damage your liver, so consult your therapist if you have a history of any liver disease ever or you are using;
- medicines to treat tuberculosis or other infections
- pain or arthritis medicine (including Tylenol, aspirin, and Advil/Motrin)
- seizure medication
- hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy
- cholesterol-lowering medicine
- heart medication
- blood pressure medicine
Your doctor may call you anytime for your liver test, and they will decide the further need for this medication for you according to these tests.
What to know before taking Arava?
This medication is not for you if you are allergic to teriflunomide or Leflunomide.
This medicine is not for you if you are;
- you have severe liver disease
- you are pregnant (you must have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment)
- you are also using teriflunomide
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant. Avoid getting pregnant during this therapy or even after the treatment until the drug elimination procedure is not undergone. If you miss your periods or feel you might be pregnant, immediately stop taking this medicine and go to your doctor for consultation.
If you want to get maximum output from this medicine, please tell your therapist if you have;
- kidney disease
- nerve problems, like neuropathy caused by diabetes
- a severe or uncontrolled infection
- a history of tuberculosis
- if you are accepting any drugs that impair your immune system (like cancer medicine or steroids)
- bone marrow disorder or a weak immune system
- a story of liver disorder or hepatitis (Leflunomide can produce severe liver difficulties)
Until this medication is in your body, use birth control options to prevent pregnancy. When your doctor suggests you stop Arava and stop taking this medicine, please use the birth control option until your blood test report is entirely free from this medication.
Talk to your therapist if you can use a barrier form of birth control options. If you use hormonal contraception such as injections, birth control pills, vaginal rings, etc., it may increase liver damage.
You should not take this medicine if you are breastfeeding your baby because this medicine’s effect on your newborn is unknown yet.
How to take Arava?
Before taking this treatment, be sure that you are not suffering from tuberculosis or other infections. Talk to your therapist for necessary medical tests for surety.
Follow all the indications of your therapist and read your medication guide carefully that comes with your medication. If you have any confusion regarding this medicine’s use or dosage, immediately call your doctor, consult them, and clear all your doubts.
Please frequently check your blood pressure while you are under this therapy.
Arava can lower those blood cells that help your body to fight off infections and prevent blood clotting. It is necessary to test your blood regularly while you are under this treatment. Your doctor may stop your medication for short–term or permanently according to your medical condition in your test reports, so please follow your therapist’s directions.
Check your liver functionality frequently. Talk to your doctor for regular checkups and medical tests for your liver. You may need to stop taking Arava, and it entirely depends on your test results.
After stopping Arava therapy, you may need to take some other medications that can help you to eliminate Leflunomide from your body. If you do not carry other medicines to eliminate Leflunomide from your body, then it may stay for two years in your body. You must undergo this drug elimination procedure if you want to become pregnant after stopping this medication.
Arava can also treat your arthritis with a combination of other drugs. Use all the medications precisely the same as your doctor prescribes you. Read medication guides carefully, and do not change your dosage without consulting your therapist.
Store this drug away from light, heat, moisture, and at room temperature.
Usual adult dosage of Arava to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis;
The initial dosage of this medication is 100mg orally once every day for three days.
The maintenance dosage is 20 mg orally once every day. Your doctor may adjust this dosage to 10mg if not well tolerated.
Seek emergency medical help or call on Poison Helpline number 1–800–222-1222.
What to avoid while using Arava?
Avoid getting in contact with those suffering from cold, flu, or any other contagious illness. Immediately call your doctor if you have any symptoms of infection.
Do not receive any live vaccination because the live vaccines contain measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine. These may develop a severe infection in your body, which may become fatal for you if you are under Arava’s treatment.
This medicine may impair your thinking, so do not drive or operate heavy machinery types while under the effect of this medicine.
Avoid throwing this medication at the place where your pet or any other animal or person gets in touch with the medicine.
Keep your medication at a safe distance. Do not let your medication touch your children. If your child gets in touch with this medicine, then it may become fatal for them.
Arava side effects
Arava can cause some common and severe side-effects. If you develop any symptoms of side-effects, consult your therapist. The common side-effects of this medication are;
- weight loss
- back pain
- muscle pain or weakness
- burning, numbness
- hair loss
- leg cramps
- dry skin
Instantly consult your physician if you have any symptoms from the list below;
- rash with or without a fever
- blisters or peeling of skin
- mouth sores
- difficulty breathing
- new or worsening cough
- chest pain
- pale skin
What drugs can interact with Arava?
Arava can severely damage your liver. The risk may increase if you take it with certain medications such as
- acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- naproxen (Aleve)
- gout or arthritis medication (including gold injections)
- an antibiotic
- antifungal medicine
- tuberculosis medicine
- antiviral for HIV/AIDS medication
- medicine to treat mental illness
- seizure medication – carbamazepine, phenytoin, valproic acid
- birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- anabolic steroids – methyltestosterone
- “performance-enhancing drugs.”
- cancer medication
- heart or blood pressure medication