You should be aware of any warnings and precautions before using Arava (leflunomide). Because certain drugs may interact with this medication, you should speak to your health care provider about any medicines you are currently taking. You should also tell your physician about other medical conditions you may have such as cancer, blood disorders, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, or kidney disease.
Arava has a great number of absolute and relative contraindications, in part associated with its mode of action:
- Hypersensitivity to the drug or to inactive ingredients (e.g., lactose).
- Important contraindications are “preexisting pregnancy,” or women of childbearing potential not using reliable anticonceptive methods. Finally, women should not become pregnant before 2 years after termination of therapy have elapsed or undergo a rapid wash-out procedure. Men wishing to father a child should discontinue leflunomide after consultation with their prescribing physician and also undergo a wash-out procedure.
- Preexisting significant liver or renal disease and moderate to severe diseases of the bone marrow or immune system preclude the use of Leflunomide.
- Moderate to severe bacterial, fungal or viral infections (e.g., AIDS, latent HIV-Infection, pneumonia, active tuberculosis).
Special Warnings about Arava
- Visit your prescriber or health care professional for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks and tests to see if your liver is working properly. The side effects of Arava can continue after you finish your treatment; report side effects promptly.
- While you are taking Arava you might be more susceptible to infection. Try to avoid people with colds, the flu, and bronchitis. Do not have any vaccinations without your doctor’s approval.
- Call your health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat; do not treat yourself.
- If you are going to have surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking Arava.
- Alcoholic drinks can make you more dizzy and increase possible damage to your liver. Avoid alcoholic drinks while taking Arava.