leflunomide for rheumatoid arthritis
Last reviewed 01/2018
- leflunomide is a disease-modifying drug (DMARD) that is licensed for the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults
- evidence suggests that leflunomide is an effective DMARD for adults with active RA; the benefits of treatment are evident as improvement in tender and swollen joints - these benefits are evident by 4 weeks after starting treatment
- in comparison with methotrexate or sulphasalazine, leflunomide appears to be similarly effective - however leflunomide appears to more likely to cause unwanted effects
- unwanted effects with leflunomide appear to be more likely if given concomitantly
with, or started just after switching from, another DMARD with a similar toxity
profile; unwanted effects appear to be more likely if there is a switch to
another DMARD without elimination of leflunomide's active metabolite
- because of the long half-life of leflunomide it takes a long time to achieve a steady-state concentration
The summary of product characteristics should be consulted before prescribing this drug.
- (1) Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 2000; 38 (7):52-4.
cautions and contraindications
precautions when stopping treatment
disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs