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Arava

Arava is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), a type of medicine that changes how a rheumatic disorder progresses. Arava, which contains the active ingredient leflunomide, does not cure the disease but prevents it from worsening.

What is Arava?

Arava is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), a type of medicine that changes how a rheumatic disorder progresses. Arava, which contains the active ingredient leflunomide, does not cure the disease but prevents it from worsening.

When is it used?

Arava is prescribed in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a condition in which the joints (usually the wrists, hands, knees and ankles) become inflamed. The affected joints become painful, red and stiff. Eventually, they may be permanently damaged as a result of the disease. Arava reduces inflammation in the body, which helps to decrease pain and prevent (further) damage to joints.

How to use Arava

It takes several weeks or months before the effect of Arava is noticeable. Arava tablets should be swallowed whole with some liquid. Although it does not matter when you take the tablet(s), we recommend that you take Arava at about the same time each day to avoid missing any doses.

Dosage

Arava is available in packs containing 30 tablets of 10 mg. Unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor, the usual dose for rheumatoid arthritis is one tablet a day. If you have forgotten to take a dose, you should take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Never take a double dose of Arava to make up for the forgotten tablet.

Side effects

Like all other medicines, Arava can have side effects, although not everyone gets them. Reported side effects of Arava include:

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach ache and diarrhoea. Taking Arava with meals will help to prevent these symptoms
  • Ulcers or sores inside the mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or tiredness

See package leaflet for a complete list of possible contraindications, warnings and other side effects.

Pregnancy/alcohol/driving ability

Arava should not be used during pregnancy as it is harmful to the foetus. If you are trying to conceive, it is important to know that the active ingredient in Arava remains in the body for a long time. This is why you should not become pregnant within two years after termination of therapy. Use of Arava is also not recommended during breastfeeding, unless prescribed otherwise.

Arava may cause dizziness. Stay out of traffic if you are experiencing this side effect.

Arava is burdensome to the liver, just like alcohol. It is important to reduce or stop alcohol consumption while on this medication to avoid liver damage.

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