Leflunomide belongs to the group of medications called immune-suppressive, dise
ase-modifying antirheumatic medicines. It is used for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Uses of Leflunomide
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
- It not only decreases the pain and swelling of arthritis but also reduces the damage and long-term disability
Contraindications of Leflunomide
When should one not use Leflunomide
- Liver diseases, Hepatitis B/ C seropositive
- Kidney diseases
- High blood pressure
- Serious infections
- Concomitant live virus vaccines
Side effects of Leflunomide
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Hypertension (increase in blood pressure)
- Breathing difficulty
- High blood pressure
- Liver damage
- Respiratory infections
Precautions and Warnings of Leflunomide
Can I take Leflunomide during pregnancy?
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
Can I take Leflunomide while breastfeeding?
This medicine should not be used while breastfeeding.
Can I drive if I have consumed Leflunomide?
This medicine may cause dizziness. Do not drive until you feel well.
Can I consume alcohol with Leflunomide?
Consumption of an alcohol may cause liver problems. Consult your doctor.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- Inform if you have intolerance to some sugars
- Inform in case of pale skin, tiredness, or bruising, as these may indicate blood disorders caused by an imbalance in the different types of blood cells which make up blood
- Inform in case of tiredness, abdominal pain, or jaundice (yellow discoloration of the eyes or skin), as these may indicate serious conditions such as liver failure
- Inform in case of any symptoms of an infection such as fever, sore throat or cough, as this medicine may increase the chance of a severe infection which may be life-threatening
- Inform in case of cough or breathing problems as these may indicate lung disease (interstitial lung disease or pulmonary hypertension)
- Inform in case of unusual tingling, weakness or pain in your hands or feet as these may report problems with your nerves (peripheral neuropathy)
Mode of Action of Leflunomide
How Does It Work?
Leflunomide is an immune modifying medicine. It works by inhibiting the enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase required for the synthesis of pyrimidine, which is utilized in DNA and RNA. Thus, Leflunomide slows down the activity of dividing cells....
Interactions of Leflunomide
Interactions with other medicines
- It may interact with live vaccines such as yellow fever vaccine and influenza vaccine
- With medicines such as Methotrexate and Warfarin
- With other immune-suppressing medications such as Azathioprine, Cyclosporine, and Sirolimus
Interactions with food items
Avoid alcohol while on treatment with Leflunomide as it triggers side effects.
Dosage of Leflunomide
Inform your doctor immediately in case of an overdose.
Missed a Dose
Take the missed dose as early as you remember. Skip the missed dose & do not take extra medicine to compensate for the missed dose.
Dr. Mansi Savla
B. Pharm, PharmD
Dr. Ritu Budania
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Are there any precautions to take before starting or while on this medication?
- Do not receive any live vaccines without consulting your doctor while on treatment with Leflunomide
- Avoid contact with any person who has recently received a live vaccine
- There are chances that you may catch the virus as immunity is low when on this medicine
- Tell your doctor if you ever had TB (tuberculosis) or traveled where TB is common
- Monitoring of the liver periodically should be carried out while on treatment with Leflunomide
- Do not get near people with active infections like common cold or flu, or any other contagious illnesses
- Be very careful about the other medicines that you are taking while on this medicine
Q: When and how to consume the medicine?
- Leflunomide is consumed after a meal with water
- Dose and duration of treatment should be taken as per doctor’s advice
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