Leflunomide is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It helps reduce pain and swelling in your joints.
This medicine is also used to treat psoriatic arthritis, a condition characterised by inflammation of the joints associated with psoriasis (a type of skin disease that is caused by itchy patches of thick, red skin and silvery scales).
Take Leflunomide exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Take Leflunomide with plenty of water. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Leflunomide must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- low immunity due to other illnesses
- blood disorder
- serious infections
- hypoproteinemia ( a low level of protein in the blood)
as Leflunomide may not be suitable for you.
Do not take Leflunomide if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Leflunomide may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods while taking this medicine.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with Leflunomide.
Inform your doctor if you have tuberculosis (lung infection) or reactivation of the infection.
Inform your doctor if you have an infection and if you have received a vaccination, specifically the ‘live virus' vaccines.
For as long as you are taking Leflunomide, you may need to have regular blood tests to check your body's response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
Let your doctor know if you are a soon-to-be father or planning to father a child, Reliable contraception may be recommended by your doctor to prevent harm to your unborn child.
Leflunomide may cause any of the following side effects: diarrhoea, skin rash, headache, nausea, and baldness.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes with skin peeling or blisters/rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
- cough or difficulty in breathing as this may be a sign of airway infection
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines to treat TB (lung infection known as tuberculosis) e.g. rifampicin
- medicines for cancer e.g. methotrexate
- medicines for diabetes e.g. tolbutamide, pioglitazone, repaglinide
- medicines for pain and inflammation e.g. indometacin, ketoprofen
- medicines for depression e.g. duloxetine
- warfarin (a blood-thinning medicine)
- colestyramine (a cholesterol-lowering medicine)
- cimetidine (a stomach medicine)
- antibiotics e.g. ciprofloxacin, cefaclor
- tizanidine (a muscle relaxant)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Leflunomide.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee, tea and certain soft drinks.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children. Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.