DISEASE-MODIFYING ANTIRHEUMATIC DRUG (DMARD)
Arava is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat active rheumatoid arthritis in adults. Arava is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat lupus, especially in cases where Methotrexate is not effective or tolerated. Arava is also known by its drug name, Leflunomide.
Arava is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), a type of medication that suppresses the immune system and fights inflammation. Arava is also considered to be a pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor. In cases of lupus, Arava is believed to work by preventing the production of DNA in cells, including immune cells that contribute to inflammation.
How do I take it?
Arava is generally taken orally once daily.
Arava comes in tablet form.
The FDA-approved label for Arava lists common side effects including headache, respiratory infections, rash, nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
Rare but serious side effects listed for Arava include severe infections, increase blood pressure, interstitial lung disease, peripheral neuropathy (pins and needles sensation in the extremities), and potentially fatal skin infections including Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.
For answers to frequently asked questions about exposure to Leflunomide during pregnancy and breastfeeding, visit the experts at MothertoBaby.org.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Arava – Sanofi
Immunosuppressive Medications – Johns Hopkins Lupus Center