Leflunomide - Benefits, dosage and side effects

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Leflunomide - Benefits, dosage and side effects
Leflunomide - Benefits, dosage and side effects

Leflunomide is a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. This drug should not be used carelessly and must be in accordance with a doctor's prescription. Leflunomide is available in tablet form

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition in which the body's immune system attacks he althy joint cells, causing arthritis. Leflunomide will suppress the work of the immune system so that inflammation in the joints is reduced and joint swelling can subside.

Leflunomide - Alodokter
Leflunomide - Alodokter

Leflunomide trademark: Arava

What is Leflunomide

Class Prescription drugs
Categories Antirheumatic (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs)
Benefits Treating rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis
Consumed by Adult
Leflunomide for pregnant and lactating women Category X: Studies in experimental animals and humans have shown fetal abnormalities or a risk to the fetus.

Drugs in this category should not be used by women who are or may become pregnant.

Leflunomide is not known whether it can be absorbed into breast milk or not. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.

Medicine form Tablets

Warning Before Taking Leflunomide

Leflunomide should only be used according to a doctor's prescription. Here are some things you need to pay attention to before taking leflunomide:

  • Do not take leflunomide if you are allergic to this drug. Always tell your doctor about any allergies you have.
  • Tell your doctor if you have liver failure, kidney failure, a serious infectious disease, or have a weakened immune system. Leflunomide should not be used in these patients.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had tuberculosis, cancer, blood disorders, bone marrow disorders, alcoholism, high blood pressure, or lung disease.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages while you are taking leflunomide, as this increases the risk of liver damage.
  • As much as possible avoid close contact with people with infectious diseases that are easily transmitted, such as chickenpox or flu, because these drugs can make it easier for you to get infections.
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to get vaccinated while on treatment with leflunomide as this medicine may affect the effectiveness of the vaccine.
  • Do not drive a vehicle or do activities that require alertness after taking leflunomide, as this drug can cause dizziness.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy. Use effective contraception during treatment with leflunomide to prevent pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements or herbal products.
  • See your doctor immediately if you have an allergic reaction, serious side effects, or overdose after taking leflunomide.

Dosage and Instructions for Use of Leflunomide

The dose of leflunomide will be determined by the doctor. In general, the dose of leflunomide to treat rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis for adult patients is 100 mg, once daily, for the first 3 days. The maintenance dose is 10–20 mg, once daily.

How to Take Leflunomide Correctly

Read the instructions on the medicine package and follow the doctor's advice before taking leflunomide. Do not reduce or increase the dose without consulting your doctor first.

Leflunomide can be taken before or after meals. Swallow this medicine whole. Do not crush, chew or split this medicine as this may affect the effectiveness of the medicine.

If you forget to take leflunomide, take it immediately if it is not close to the time for your next dose. If it is near, ignore the missed dose. Do not double the dose of leflunomide to make up for a missed dose.

While undergoing treatment with leflunomide, you will be asked to do regular check-ups and undergo regular blood tests and liver function tests.

Store leflunomide at room temperature and place in a closed container. Keep the medicine away from direct sunlight and keep it out of reach of children.

Leflunomide Interaction with Other Drugs

The following are some of the interactions that can occur if leflunomide is taken together with other drugs:

  • Reduced blood levels of leflunomide when taken with cholestyramine, activated charcoal, or rifampicin
  • Increased risk of liver damage if taken with aspirin, celecoxib, methotrexate, acarbose, amiodarone, bupropion, ketorolac, or acetaminophen
  • Increased risk of anemia if taken with hydroxychloroquine or infliximab
  • Increased risk of severe infectious disease if taken with busulfan, cortisone, or hydroxyurea
  • Increased risk of side effects from live vaccines, such as the BCG vaccine

In addition, if leflunomide is taken with alcoholic beverages, the risk of liver damage increases. When used with echinacea, the therapeutic effect of leflunomide may be decreased.

Side Effects and Dangers of Leflunomide

Some of the side effects that can occur after taking leflunomide are:

  • Backache
  • stomach ache or heartburn
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Dizzy
  • Lost appetite
  • Lower weight drastically

Check with your doctor if the above complaints don't go away. See your doctor immediately if you have an allergic reaction to the drug or experience more serious side effects, such as:

  • Urine bleeding, pain, burning, or difficulty urinating
  • Easy to bruise
  • High blood pressure
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain, palpitations, or fast heart rate
  • Unusual mood swings or tiredness
  • Jaundice
  • Tingling or numbness in fingers and toes

In addition, this drug can also increase the risk for infection. See a doctor immediately if you have a fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, or sore throat that doesn't get better.

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