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In the U.S.-
Leflunomide (le-FLUN-o-mide) is used to relieve some symptoms caused by rheumatoid arthritis, such as inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. This medicine works by stopping the body from producing too many of the immune cells that are responsible for the swelling and inflammation.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form(s):
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For leflunomide, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to leflunomide. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy- Leflunomide must not be taken during pregnancy because it may cause birth defects in humans. Women of childbearing age are advised to use reliable contraception before receiving leflunomide.
Breast-feeding- It is not known whether leflunomide passes into the breast milk. However, leflunomide is not recommended during breast-feeding, because it may cause unwanted effects in nursing babies.
Children- Although there is no specific information comparing use of leflunomide in children with use in any other age group, use is not recommended in children up to 18 years of age.
Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way as they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of leflunomide in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Studies have not been done in animals or humans to determine if leflunomide will cause birth defects in the children of men taking leflunomide at the time of conception. However, it is recommended that men taking this medicine use condoms as a form of birth control during sexual intercourse. Men taking leflunomide who intend to father a child, should stop taking the medicine and tell their doctor immediately.
Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC] medicine.
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of leflunomide. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor . Do not take more or less of it, and do not take it more often than your doctor ordered.
The dose of leflunomide will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of leflunomide. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if you do not remember the missed dose until the next day, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
Leflunomide may cause birth defects in humans if taken during pregnancy. Therefore, if you suspect that you may have become pregnant, stop taking this medicine immediately and check with your doctor.
Leflunomide may cause birth defects in the children of the men taking it during the time of conception. Therefore, men taking leflunomide should use condoms as a form of birth control during sexual intercourse. A man intending to father a child should stop taking this medicine and check with his doctors.
Do not drink alcohol while using this medicine . Alcohol can increase the chance of liver problems.
While you are being treated with leflunomide, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval .
Side Effects of This Medicine
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT