Leflunomide

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What is leflunomide?

Leflunomide is a type of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). It dampens down the underlying disease process, rather than simply treating symptoms.

Why is leflunomide prescribed?

Leflunomide is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other types of auto-immune disease.

How do I take leflunomide and how long does it take to work?

Leflunomide is usually given as a 10 or 20 mg tablet once a day. It may be 6 weeks or more before you notice any benefit.

What are the possible side-effects of leflunomide?

The most common side-effects of leflunomide include nausea, diarrhoea and mouth ulcers. You should stop leflunomide and see your doctor straight away if you have severe side-effects, if you haven’t had chickenpox and you come into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles or if you develop chickenpox or shingles.

What are the risks of taking leflunomide?

Leflunomide could make you more likely to pick up infections. You shouldn't have live vaccines and should only drink alcohol in small amounts. You shouldn't try to have have a baby or breastfeed while taking leflunomide.

What else should I know about leflunomide?

Before you start taking leflunomide, your healthcare team will discuss other treatment options with you. You'll have a blood test and blood pressure measurement.

While taking leflunomide, you'll need regular checks. Some drugs interact with leflunomide so you should discuss any new medications  (including complementary medicines) with your doctor and always tell any other doctor treating you that you’re on leflunomide. Talk to your doctor if you're going to have an operation because you may need to alter your dose.

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