Leflunomide is a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). It’s also known by its brand name Arava.
It’s used to treat:
- rheumatoid arthritis (roo-ma-toy-d arth-ri-tus)
- psoriatic arthritis (saw-ree-at-ik arth-ri-tus).
It may take four to six weeks before you start to feel the effects of leflunomide on your symptoms. It can take four to six months to feel the full effect of the drug.
In conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, the immune system attacks parts of your body by mistake. Leflunomide can dampen down the activity of the immune system. This can reduce the inflammation that makes your joints painful, swollen and stiff.
Because it’s a long-term treatment, you should carry on taking leflunomide:
- even if it doesn’t seem to be working at first
- even when your symptoms start to improve, to help keep your condition under control.