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What is Arava?
LEFLUNOMIDE is a medication that reduces inflammation and swelling due to rheumatoid arthritis. The response of the immune system may contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. Leflunomide affects this system and is able to slow down the progression of the disease, especially in the affected joints. Leflunomide helps to treat all stages of adult rheumatoid arthritis. Leflunomide can be used with some of the other medications that are used to treat the inflammation and pain of this condition (for example, aspirin, other salicylates or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen).
What should my health care professional know before I receive Arava?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- bone marrow problems
- immune system problems
- fever or infection
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- an unusual or allergic reaction to leflunomide, other medicines, lactose, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use Arava?
Take Arava by mouth with a full glass of water. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of Arava in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of Arava contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share Arava with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with Arava?
- NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care providers a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while taking Arava?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need frequent blood checks while you are receiving the medicine.
If you get a cold or other infection while receiving Arava, call your doctor or health care professional. Do not treat yourself. The medicine may increase your risk of getting an infection.
If you are a woman who has the potential to become pregnant, discuss birth control options with your doctor or health care professional. You must not be pregnant, and you must be using a reliable form of birth control. The medicine may harm an unborn baby. Immediately call your doctor if you think you might be pregnant.
Alcoholic drinks may increase possible damage to your liver. Do not drink alcohol while taking Arava.
What side effects may I notice from Arava?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- fever, chills or any other sign of infection
- redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusually weak or tired
- yellowing of eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- hair loss
This list may not describe all possible side effects.
Where can I keep Arava?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from moisture and light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
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