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Leflunomide (also referred to by its brand name Arava) is an anti-T cell medication and as such is thought to control inflammation by interfering with T cell production of cytokines, similar to some of the biologics.
Leflunomide, like methotrexate was initially developed for use in the treatment of cancer. Leflunomide is an anti-T cell medication and as such is thought to control inflammation by interfering with T cell production of cytokines, similar to some of the biologics. It acts to suppress the overactive immune system, causing damage and pain to the joints.
Leflunomide is a tablet that is taken every day. Like other DMARDs, leflunomide does not work immediately – it may be up to six weeks before you feel any effect and as long as six months before you feel the full benefit. The potential side effects of leflunomide are similar to methotrexate and so you will have regular blood and blood pressure tests, and may need an annual flu vaccination.
The information on this page is also available in our psoriatic arthritis - secondary care information sheet.