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Leflunomide Mechanism of Action

Available by prescription only, leflunomide (Arava®) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in adults. This medication is a type of disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD).
The mechanism of action by which leflunomide works is by blocking the body's ability to make certain molecules called pyrimidines. People who have rheumatoid arthritis have a type of immune cell (called a T cell) that is overactive. T cells produce chemicals that cause inflammation and damage joint tissue. T cells need pyrimidines to divide, or reproduce. By stopping the production of pyrimidine, leflunomide prevents T cells from reproducing, thereby reducing inflammation and preventing joint damage.
(To learn more about the mechanism of action for this drug, click Leflunomide. This article offers a complete overview of this drug, including how it works, general safety precautions to be aware of, and tips for taking it properly.)
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