Arava is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, to reduce joint damage, to prevent rejection of organ transplant by weakening your immune system and decreasing swelling (inflammation).
Arava belongs to a class of medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. It affects the immune system and reduces swelling and inflammation in the body. Arava is used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps reduce joint damage and improves physical functioning. This drug may also be used to prevent rejection of organ transplant.
Before you start taking Arava, you may need a skin test to make sure you do not have tuberculosis. Take Arava exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The recommended starting dose for treating rheumatoid arthritis is 100 mg once daily for the first 3 days, followed by 20 mg once a day. You can take Arava with food or on an empty stomach. Take it at the same time each day.
Before taking Arava you should talk with your doctor if you have liver disease or hepatitis, kidney disease, cancer, any type of infection, tuberculosis, a blood cell disorder (anemia, easy bruising or bleeding), lung problems, a weak immune system or bone marrow disorder, or if you are using any drugs that weaken your immune system (such as cancer medicine or steroids). Use effective birth control while you are taking Arava. Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections. Avoid immunizations or vaccinations. This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive or perform tasks that require alertness. Avoid alcoholic beverages since they can make you dizzy and also cause liver disease.
Do not take Arava if you are under 18 years old, are allergic to leflunomide or any ingredients of the medication, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have an impaired bone marrow function or other blood disorders, low levels of protein in the blood, impaired liver function, kidney function impairment, severe infections.
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Get emergency medical help if you have mild stomach pain, back pain, chest pain, nausea, diarrhea, numbness, itching, loss of appetite, weight loss, headache, dizziness, tingling, runny or stuffy nose, skin rash, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), fever, difficulty breathing, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, trouble breathing, unusual weakness, hives, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, increased blood pressure (hypertension), hair loss (alopecia), leg cramps, Joint problems. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially: ACE inhibitors (lisinopril, enalapril, quinapril, benazepril), cholesterol medications (atorvastatin, simvastatin, niacin), antibiotics (erythromycin, dapsone), antifungal medications (fluconazole, ketoconazole, itraconazole), seizure medications (phenytoin, felbamate, carbamazepine), HIV/AIDS medications (nevirapine, lamivudine, zidovudine), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (diclofenac, naproxen, ibuprofen, indomethacin), acetaminophen, tuberculosis medications, birth control pills, arthritis medications (aurothioglucose, auranofin), methotrexate, cyclosporine, cancer medications, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil. Interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Tell your about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking.
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. Skip the missed dose if it is time for your next scheduled dose. Don't take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
If you think you have overdosed the medicine seek emergency medical help at once. The overdose symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood cell problems (anemia), yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), increased liver enzymes, dark urine.
Store the medicine at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store the drugs in the bathroom. Keep all drugs away from reach of children and pets.
The information presented at the site has a general character. Note please this information cannot be used for self-treatment and self diagnosis. You should consult with your doctor or health care adviser regarding any specific instructions of your condition. The information is reliable, but we concede it could contain mistakes. We are not responsible for any direct, indirect, special or other damage caused by use of this information on the site and also for consequences of self-treatment.