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Leflunomide and Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, leflunomide (Arava®) can help relieve your symptoms, improve physical function, and slow down the progression of the disease.
As a chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function. Because this is an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes healthy body tissue as foreign matter and the body attacks its own joints.
Leflunomide is a type of disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), which works by preventing the body's ability to make certain molecules that cause inflammation and damage joint tissue.
However, leflunomide does not provide immediate relief from symptoms. Therefore, it may be used in combination with other with medicines, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or low doses of prednisone.
(For more information on this rheumatoid arthritis medicine, click What Is Leflunomide Used For?. This eMedTV featured article discusses how this drug works, whether it is safe for use in children, and possible off-label uses.)
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