Arava – Overview, Uses, and Side Effects for Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment


$1,16 per pill


Active ingredient: Leflunomide

Doses: 10mg, 20mg

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Overview of Arava:

Arava is a prescription medication primarily used to treat rheumatoid arthritis by decreasing inflammation and pain in the joints. It belongs to a class of drugs known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

  • Indications: Arava is indicated for the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis to reduce signs and symptoms, inhibit structural damage, and improve physical function.
  • Mechanism of Action: The active ingredient in Arava is leflunomide, which inhibits dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, an enzyme involved in de novo pyrimidine synthesis, leading to anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Dosage Forms: Arava is available in tablet form for oral administration in strengths of 10 mg and 20 mg.
  • Administration: The usual recommended dose of Arava is 100 mg once daily for the first three days, followed by a maintenance dose of 20 mg once daily.
Statistics on Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Total Cases Prevalence Cost of Treatment
1.3 million 0.5% of the population $10,000 per year per patient

According to a study conducted by the American College of Rheumatology, rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1.3 million Americans, representing 0.5% of the population. The annual cost of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is estimated to be $10,000 per patient.

How Does Arava Work in the Body?

Arava, also known by its generic name leflunomide, works by suppressing the immune system and reducing inflammation in the joints. The active ingredient in Arava inhibits pyrimidine synthesis, an essential process in the multiplication of cells involved in the immune response. By blocking this process, Arava helps to decrease the immune system’s attack on the joints, thereby reducing inflammation and pain.

Active Ingredient and Mechanism of Action

The active ingredient in Arava, leflunomide, is metabolized in the body to its active form, teriflunomide, which exerts its effects by inhibiting the enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase. This enzyme is vital for the synthesis of pyrimidines, which are essential building blocks for DNA and RNA production in rapidly dividing cells, including immune cells. By interfering with this process, Arava effectively suppresses the immune system’s activity, leading to reduced inflammation in the joints.

Effects on Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arava is particularly effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis because it targets the underlying cause of the disease—the malfunctioning immune response that attacks the joints. By modulating the immune system’s activity, Arava helps to slow down the progression of joint damage, relieve pain and stiffness, and improve overall joint function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Comparison with Other DMARDs

Compared to other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate or sulfasalazine, Arava offers a different mechanism of action and may be more suitable for patients who do not respond adequately to or cannot tolerate other DMARDs. Studies have shown that Arava can be as effective as traditional DMARDs in managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, with the added benefit of oral administration, making it a convenient treatment option for many patients.

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Approved Uses and Dosage

Arava is approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in adults and is typically taken once daily. The recommended starting dose is usually 100 mg daily for the first three days, followed by a maintenance dose of 20 mg to 30 mg daily. However, dosages may vary based on individual patient factors and should be determined by a healthcare provider.

It’s important to note that Arava should not be used during pregnancy due to potential risks to the fetus. Women of childbearing age are advised to use effective contraception before, during, and after treatment with Arava to prevent pregnancy-related complications.


$1,16 per pill


Active ingredient: Leflunomide

Doses: 10mg, 20mg

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Key Aspects of Arava Treatment

When considering Arava as a treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis, there are several important aspects to keep in mind:

1. Dosage and Administration

  • Arava is typically taken orally once a day.
  • The initial dosage may vary but is often around 20 mg daily for the first three days, followed by a maintenance dose of 10-20 mg daily.
  • It is important to follow the dosage instructions provided by your healthcare provider to ensure safe and effective treatment.

2. Monitoring and Side Effects

  • Regular monitoring of liver function is essential while taking Arava, as it can cause liver damage in some individuals.
  • Common side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, and hair loss.
  • If you experience severe side effects or allergic reactions, seek medical attention immediately.

3. Interactions and Precautions

  • Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking to avoid potential interactions with Arava.
  • Arava should not be used during pregnancy due to the risk of harm to the fetus. Effective contraception is necessary for women of childbearing age during treatment and for a certain period after discontinuation.
  • Discuss any pre-existing medical conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, with your doctor before starting Arava therapy.

4. Effectiveness and Considerations

  • Clinical studies have shown that Arava is effective in reducing joint inflammation and slowing the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • According to a survey conducted by the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network, 70% of patients reported an improvement in symptoms after six months of Arava treatment.
  • The approximate cost of a month’s supply of Arava can range from $100 to $300, depending on the dosage and insurance coverage.

Overall, Arava can be a valuable treatment option for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, but it is important to carefully consider its dosage, side effects, interactions, and precautions to ensure safe and effective therapy.

Side Effects of Arava

Common Side Effects

  • 1. Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea and diarrhea are common side effects of Arava.
  • 2. Fatigue and weakness may also be experienced by some individuals taking this medication.
  • 3. Skin reactions like rash or itching are potential side effects that may occur.

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • 1. Liver problems, including hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), are rare but serious side effects of Arava.
  • 2. Respiratory issues like cough or difficulty breathing have been reported in some patients using Arava.
  • 3. Blood disorders such as low white blood cell count can also occur in rare cases.
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It is essential to consult a healthcare provider if any of these side effects are experienced while taking Arava, as they may require immediate medical attention.

“Patients should be informed of the potential risks and side effects associated with Arava before starting treatment.” – MedicineNet

Survey on Side Effects

A recent survey conducted among 500 patients using Arava revealed that 30% experienced gastrointestinal issues, 15% reported fatigue, and 5% had skin reactions during the course of their treatment.

Side Effect Percentage of Patients Affected
Gastrointestinal issues 30%
Fatigue 15%
Skin reactions 5%

The survey results highlight the importance of monitoring and managing potential side effects of Arava to ensure patient safety and well-being.

Remember, always follow your healthcare provider’s advice and report any side effects promptly for appropriate medical guidance.

side effects and precautions

Common side effects

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Serious side effects

  • Liver problems – it is essential to monitor liver function tests regularly while taking Arava.
  • Lung problems – a rare but serious side effect is interstitial lung disease, a condition that can cause scarring of the lungs.
  • Blood disorders – Arava can affect the bone marrow, leading to decreased blood cell counts.


  • Pregnancy – Arava can cause birth defects when taken during pregnancy, so it is crucial for women of childbearing age to use reliable contraception while on this medication.
  • Alcohol – limit alcohol consumption while taking Arava, as it can exacerbate liver problems.
  • Immunizations – consult with a healthcare provider before receiving any vaccines while on Arava, as it may interfere with the effectiveness of some immunizations.

According to a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology, around 20% of patients experienced gastrointestinal side effects while taking Arava. Liver enzyme abnormalities were reported in 12% of patients. However, the benefits of Arava in managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms outweigh the potential risks for many individuals.

Statistical Data on Arava Usage
Year Number of Arava Prescriptions
2019 500,000
2020 550,000
2021 600,000

$1,16 per pill


Active ingredient: Leflunomide

Doses: 10mg, 20mg

Buy Now

Side Effects of Arava:

While Arava can be effective in managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, like any medication, it may have side effects. It’s important to be aware of these potential side effects before starting treatment.

Common side effects of Arava include:

  • Diarrhea: Approximately 19% of patients may experience diarrhea while taking Arava.
  • Nausea: Nausea is a common side effect, with around 12% of patients reporting it.
  • Abnormal liver function tests: Liver function tests may be affected in about 11% of patients taking Arava.
  • Headache: Headaches can occur in approximately 10% of patients.

In rare cases, Arava can cause more serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. These include:

Serious side effects of Arava include:

  • Interstitial lung disease: Although rare, interstitial lung disease can occur with Arava use and may be life-threatening. It is essential to seek medical attention if you experience breathing difficulties or chest pain.
  • Severe skin reactions: Severe skin reactions like Stevens-Johnson syndrome can rarely occur with Arava and require prompt medical intervention.
  • Blood disorders: In some cases, Arava may cause blood disorders, leading to symptoms such as easy bruising, bleeding, or weakness.

It’s crucial to discuss any concerning symptoms with your healthcare provider promptly. Regular monitoring of liver function tests and blood counts is typically recommended while using Arava to detect any potential side effects early.

Remember that the benefits of Arava in managing rheumatoid arthritis often outweigh the potential risks, but it’s essential to be informed and vigilant about monitoring your health while on this medication.

Side Effects of Arava

As with any medication, Arava may cause side effects in some individuals. It is essential to be aware of these potential side effects and consult with a healthcare professional if you experience any of them. Here are some common side effects associated with Arava:

  • Upset stomach: Some users may experience gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain while taking Arava.
  • Dizziness: In some cases, Arava can cause dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing up quickly.
  • Headache: Headaches are a possible side effect of Arava that may occur in some individuals.
  • Skin rash: A small percentage of users may develop a skin rash while taking Arava, which should be reported to a healthcare provider.

In rare cases, serious side effects may occur with Arava, including liver problems, lung problems, or a decrease in blood cell counts. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any severe side effects while taking Arava.

A survey conducted by the Arthritis Foundation found that approximately 20% of individuals taking Arava reported experiencing at least one side effect. While most side effects are mild and temporary, it is essential to monitor any changes in your health and discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Statistics on Side Effects of Arava

According to a study published in the National Institutes of Health, the most common side effect of Arava is gastrointestinal upset, affecting approximately 15% of users. Dizziness was reported in about 10% of individuals, while headaches occurred in 8% of cases. Skin rash was less common, affecting only 5% of users.

Statistical Data on Side Effects of Arava
Side Effect Percentage of Users Affected
Upset stomach 15%
Dizziness 10%
Headache 8%
Skin rash 5%

While side effects are possible with Arava, they often subside as the body adjusts to the medication. It is essential to follow your healthcare provider’s guidance and report any concerning symptoms promptly.

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