Arava side effects have been linked to at least 130 cases of severe liver problems (hepatoxicity) and 22 deaths since its arrival on the market in 1998. The rheumatoid arthritis drug has also been linked to lymphoma, high blood pressure, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
What’s the problem?
According to medical professionals, the danger of Arava lies in its ability to remain in body tissue for an extremely long time. This means that if an Arava patient discontinues use of the drug therapy, they can continue to suffer serious side effects for months after. Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur when using Arava:
- Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue)
- Blistering or peeling skin
- Blisters on the inside of eyes, nose, or mouth
- Chest pain
- Dark urine
- Easy bruising/bleeding
- Feelings of numbness or tingling
- Muscle cramps (including leg cramps)
- Pale skin
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
- Unusual tiredness
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
Due to these and other Arava side effects, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen petitioned the FDA to remove the drug from the market on March 28, 2001. The American College of Rheumatology later published warnings to doctors and patients about the side effects associated with the drug, and urged a monthly blood test for the first six months of using Arava and continued blood tests every two to three months following that.