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What Is Leflunomide?

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may benefit from leflunomide (Arava®). But what is leflunomide and how does it work?
 
Leflunomide comes in tablet form and is typically taken once a day. It belongs to a class of drugs called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
 
This prescription drug works by blocking the body's ability to make molecules called pyrimidines. Certain immune cells in the body that cause inflammation need these molecules to reproduce. By inhibiting production of these molecules, leflunomide reduces inflammation and prevents further joint damage.
 
Most people tolerate this medication well, but side effects can occur and may include hair loss, headaches, and a rash.
 
(Click Leflunomide for more details on what leflunomide is prescribed for and how it works. This full-length article also discusses potential side effects, general dosing guidelines, possible safety concerns, and more.)
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