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Arava Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arava is prescribed to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis RA, such as joint pain, damage, and swelling; it also weakens the immune system to reduce inflammations. Leflunomide is the active ingredient of this drug, which belongs to the class of medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs DMARDs. It reduces the immune cell production called lymphocytes to minimize inflammation and suppresses the overactive immune system.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints and other parts of the body due to the immune system which is mistakenly attacking its own tissues; this causes wear and tear damage of osteoarthritis and affects the lining of the joints, causing a painful swelling that can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. Arava improves physical ability by slowing down the progress of the condition and decreasing inflammation.
Arava is prescribed based on the patient’s medical conditions and response to treatment; it is available in a tablet form with 10mg and 20mg strengths. The usual dose prescribed is 20mg once a day or as prescribed by healthcare professionals without regard to food; Arava 10 mg is given if the patient cannot tolerate the 20mg. Patients with low risks of fatal liver conditions associated with bone marrow suppression are prescribed with a loading dose of 100mg for three days and adjusted to 20mg once a day; while if they are high risk in the said condition, they are given 20mg once a day without a loading dose.
This medication should be used regularly to help attain the most benefit of it, take it at the same time of the day daily; if a dose is missed, take it once remembered, but if it is almost the time for the following intake schedule, skip it for double dosing is discouraged.
Arava Side Effects
Diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness are the common side effects of this medication; if they persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly. Take note that the side effects listed here are not the complete list.
Serious side effects may also occur; tell your doctor right away if any of the lists below is experienced:
- Numbness in the hands or feet
- Hair loss
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased thirst or urination
- Muscle cramps
- Mood changes
- Vision changes
- Unusual growths
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unusual tiredness
Get medical help right away if there is a sign of infection like persistent sore throat, fever, swollen nodes, and chills, and symptoms of allergic reaction like rash, itching, swelling, shortness of breath, and severe dizziness.
Loss of appetite is reported on the clinical trial of this medication and not weight loss, which may be the reason behind the unexplained loss of weight. Arava Weight loss can be affected by different factors such as liver disease, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Your doctor may prescribe a dietary plan and medication adjustments to maintain a healthy weight.
Arava vs Methotrexate
Both medications are used in reducing symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis, but Methotrexate can also be prescribed for severe psoriasis, certain cancers, and polyarthritis juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Arava is a brand name containing leflunomide, also its generic name, available in tablet form with three strengths taken once a day.
In contrast, Methotrexate is a generic name and active ingredient of brand names, such as Trexall, Rasuvo, RediTrex, Otrexup, and Xatmep, available in tablet, subcutaneous injection, and oral liquid for kids administered once a week. These medications share common side effects, but back pain may occur at Arava, while fever, chills, stomatitis, and anemia may occur in Methotrexate. They are similar in price and differ only in insurance plans and where they are purchased; they are both recommended for rheumatoid arthritis, but most patients choose Methotrexate. Still, your doctor will be the one to decide which is better for your condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
-Is Arava safe for pregnant women?
This medication is not recommended in pregnant women, for it may harm the unborn child; birth control pills and other contraceptives are recommended while in this medication. Tell your doctor if you are planning to get pregnant for you may need to stop treatment, and cholestyramine medicine will be prescribed to you to remove leflunomide in your system; a blood test will be regularly done to check the level of leflunomide for it stays in the body for up to two years.
-Can I take alcohol and Arava?
Limit alcohol intake while in this medication, for it may increase the risk of dizziness and liver problems.
-How long before Arava starts to work?
This medication starts to work within six to eight weeks of adequate intake and may attain the full effect up to six months.
Arava, Leflunomide, Lefra
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