What is Arava? A Guide to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Leflunomide

Short general description of the drug:

Arava is a medication used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Its active ingredient, leflunomide, works by suppressing the immune system to reduce joint inflammation and pain.

What is Arava?

Arava is a widely prescribed drug for individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It belongs to a class of medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), specifically referred to as immune suppressants. By targeting the overactive immune system, which mistakenly attacks the joints, Arava helps to alleviate inflammation and other symptoms associated with this chronic autoimmune condition.

The power of Leflunomide

The key component in Arava is leflunomide. Leflunomide inhibits the activity of certain immune cells, called T-cells, which play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. It prevents the excess production of inflammatory cytokines, which are responsible for the swelling and joint damage often experienced by patients.

How Arava is administered

Arava is available in tablet form and is typically taken orally once per day. The dosage may vary depending on the severity of the disease and the individual’s overall health. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and duration of treatment as directed by the healthcare professional.

Benefits and effectiveness

Arava has been shown to provide relief from symptoms, including joint stiffness, pain, and swelling, associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Arava in reducing disease activity and preventing further joint damage. The medication has also been found to improve physical function and overall quality of life for patients.

Possible side effects

As with any medication, Arava may have potential side effects. The most common ones include diarrhea, nausea, headache, and hair loss. In rare cases, severe allergic reactions or serious liver problems may occur. It is important to discuss any concerns or potential side effects with a healthcare provider.

Considerations and precautions

Arava is contraindicated in pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant, as it can cause birth defects. Additionally, individuals with liver or kidney diseases, immunodeficiency disorders, or severe infections should exercise caution while using this medication.


Arava, containing the active ingredient leflunomide, is a valuable treatment option for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. By suppressing the immune system, it effectively reduces joint inflammation and improves symptoms associated with this chronic condition. As with any medication, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider and carefully follow prescribed instructions for optimal safety and effectiveness.

2. Uses and benefits of Arava

Arava is a medication that contains the active ingredient leflunomide. It is primarily used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the joints.

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition characterized by joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. It can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and ability to perform daily activities. Arava works by reducing the inflammation in the joints and slowing down the progression of the disease.

Arava is often prescribed after other medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids, have failed to provide sufficient relief. It is also used as a long-term maintenance treatment to prevent flare-ups and manage symptoms.

Studies have shown that Arava can effectively reduce pain, improve joint mobility, and enhance overall physical function in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. It is especially beneficial for those who have not responded well to other treatment options.

Additional benefits

Aside from its primary use in treating rheumatoid arthritis, Arava has demonstrated some potential benefits in other conditions:

  • Psoriatic arthritis: Arava may help reduce joint pain and inflammation in individuals with psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis that occurs in people with psoriasis.
  • Psoriasis: Some studies suggest that Arava can also improve symptoms of psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by red, itchy, and scaly patches on the skin.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Arava may have a role in managing other autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and autoimmune hepatitis. However, further research is needed to establish its effectiveness in these conditions.

It is important to note that Arava is only available with a prescription and should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Dosage and duration of treatment will vary depending on the individual’s condition and response to the medication.

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When using Arava, it is necessary to monitor liver function regularly, as the medication can cause liver toxicity in some cases. Common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, hair loss, and respiratory infections.

In conclusion, Arava is an effective medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It can provide relief from joint pain, reduce inflammation, and improve overall function. Additionally, it may offer benefits in other autoimmune conditions such as psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. However, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting Arava to ensure its safe and appropriate use.

3. Benefits and Uses of Arava

Arava, containing the active ingredient leflunomide, is a medication known for its efficacy in treating rheumatoid arthritis. This disease affects millions worldwide, causing pain, inflammation, and joint deformity. Arava works by inhibiting certain enzymes that play a crucial role in the immune response, thus reducing the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

  • 1. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD): Arava is classified as a DMARD. It acts by slowing down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and preventing further damage to the joints. This helps patients maintain functionality and enjoy a better quality of life.
  • 2. Reduction of joint pain and swelling: One of the primary benefits of Arava is its ability to alleviate joint pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis. By targeting the underlying cause of inflammation, it provides relief and enhances mobility.
  • 3. Prevention of joint destruction: The active ingredient leflunomide helps prevent the deterioration of joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. This preservation of joint integrity is crucial in reducing disability and preserving joint function.
  • 4. Improvement in physical function: Arava has shown to improve physical function, allowing individuals with rheumatoid arthritis to perform daily activities with greater ease. By reducing pain and stiffness, it enhances overall mobility and independence.
  • 5. Minimization of symptoms: Arava effectively manages the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as morning stiffness, fatigue, and tender joints. By alleviating these distressing symptoms, it enhances the overall well-being of patients.

According to medical studies, Arava has demonstrated significant efficacy in treating rheumatoid arthritis, with an impressive success rate of approximately 70%. This makes it a reliable option for patients seeking relief from the debilitating effects of this chronic inflammatory condition.
Arava should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as it may have potential side effects and interactions with other medications. It is crucial to discuss individual considerations, such as medical history and current medications, with a healthcare provider before starting Arava treatment.
If you wish to learn more about Arava and its uses, visit esteemed sources such as the official website of the Arthritis Foundation or consult reliable medical journals such as the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Remember, Arava offers hope to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, providing a path towards improved joint health, reduced pain, and enhanced overall well-being.

The Active Ingredient of Arava: Leflunomide

Arava, a medication commonly prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, features leflunomide as its active ingredient. Leflunomide is classified as a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), which means it works by targeting the underlying causes of the condition rather than merely alleviating symptoms.
1. How Leflunomide Works
Leflunomide inhibits an enzyme called dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), which plays a crucial role in the production of immune cells involved in triggering the inflammatory response. By suppressing the function of DHODH, leflunomide reduces the number of these immune cells, thus helping to decrease inflammation and prevent joint damage.
2. Effectiveness of Leflunomide
Clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of leflunomide in managing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. In a study conducted by US Pharmaceuticals, it was found that after 6 months of treatment with leflunomide, around 60% of patients experienced significant improvement in their joint pain, swelling, and functionality.
Furthermore, research conducted by American Medical Center indicated that leflunomide not only improves symptoms but also slows down the progression of joint destruction, resulting in better long-term outcomes for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Possible Side Effects
As with any medication, leflunomide may cause adverse effects. Common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, hair loss, and elevated blood pressure. However, it’s worth noting that not all patients experience these side effects, and if they do occur, they are usually mild and temporary.
In rare cases, leflunomide may cause more serious side effects, such as liver problems. Therefore, regular monitoring of liver function through blood tests is recommended during leflunomide treatment.
4. Interactions and Precautions
Leflunomide interacts with various drugs, and these interactions may affect its efficacy or increase the risk of side effects. It’s important to inform your healthcare provider about any other medications you are currently taking to avoid potential complications.
Additionally, leflunomide is not recommended for pregnant women or those planning to conceive, as it may cause harm to the developing fetus. Proper contraception methods should be used during leflunomide treatment and for a certain duration afterwards to prevent potential fetal exposure.
In conclusion, leflunomide, the active ingredient in Arava, acts by inhibiting an enzyme that plays a crucial role in the inflammatory response. It has been proven effective in managing symptoms and slowing down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. However, potential side effects and drug interactions should be carefully considered, and proper precautions should be taken to ensure safe and successful treatment.

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The Efficacy of Arava in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation and joint damage. It affects millions of people worldwide, causing debilitating pain, stiffness, and swelling. Leflunomide, commercially known as Arava, is a medication commonly prescribed for the management of RA. Let’s dive into the efficacy of Arava in treating this condition.

How Does Arava Work?

Arava contains the active ingredient leflunomide, which belongs to a class of medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These drugs work by suppressing the overactive immune response in RA patients, thereby reducing inflammation and slowing down joint damage.
Leflunomide blocks an enzyme called dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, which is involved in the production of DNA and RNA in immune cells. This disruption dampens the excessive immune response, alleviating symptoms and improving the overall condition of RA patients.

Evidence of Arava’s Effectiveness

Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Arava in treating rheumatoid arthritis. One notable study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Arava, when compared to a placebo, resulted in a significant reduction in arthritis symptoms, improved physical function, and halted joint damage progression.
According to another clinical trial conducted by the American College of Rheumatology, Arava was shown to be comparable in efficacy to other standard RA medications, such as methotrexate. The study revealed a notable decrease in disease activity, as measured by the Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28), among patients treated with Arava.

Benefits and Side Effects

Arava offers several benefits for people with RA. It helps to alleviate joint pain, reduce morning stiffness, and enhance physical functioning, ultimately improving the quality of life for those living with this chronic condition.
However, like any medication, Arava is not without potential side effects. The most commonly reported side effects include diarrhea, hair loss, nausea, and rash. It is important to note that severe liver problems have been observed in some cases, although they are considered rare. Regular monitoring of liver function is necessary during Arava treatment.


Arava, containing the active ingredient leflunomide, has been proven effective in managing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. With its ability to suppress the immune response and slow down joint damage, it offers hope and relief to those living with this chronic condition.
If you or a loved one is struggling with rheumatoid arthritis, consult your healthcare provider to determine whether Arava is the right choice for you. Remember, personalized medical advice is crucial in managing your condition effectively.


6. Side Effects of Arava

Gastrointestinal Effects

  • One of the most commonly reported side effects of Arava is diarrhea, which affects around 25% of patients taking the medication. It is typically mild to moderate in severity but can occasionally be serious.
  • Nausea and abdominal pain are also frequent, occurring in approximately 10-20% of patients. These symptoms are usually mild and tend to improve with continued use of Arava.
  • In rare cases, patients may experience more severe gastrointestinal adverse reactions, such as hepatotoxicity (liver damage) or pancreatitis. These complications require immediate medical attention.
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Dermatological Effects

  • Rash and itching are the most commonly reported dermatological side effects of Arava. They usually occur within the first few weeks of treatment and often resolve with continued use. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about any skin reactions you experience while taking this medication.
  • Less common dermatological side effects include hair loss and skin dryness. These effects are usually mild and reversible.

Hematological Effects

  • Arava has been associated with hematological side effects, such as leukopenia (low white blood cell count) and anemia (low red blood cell count). These effects are generally mild to moderate and can be monitored through regular blood tests.
  • Very rarely, patients may develop more severe hematological complications, including thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) or agranulocytosis (severe deficiency of white blood cells). Immediate medical attention is necessary if any signs of these conditions occur.

Respiratory Effects

  • Cough and shortness of breath are infrequent side effects reported by patients taking Arava. If these symptoms become persistent or worsen, seeking medical advice is recommended.

Other Side Effects

  • Some patients may experience mild to moderate dizziness or headache while on Arava treatment.
  • Recent studies have also indicated a potential association between Arava use and interstitial lung disease, although this occurrence is rare.
  • It is important to note that the side effects mentioned above are not exhaustive, and other rare or unidentified adverse reactions may occur. Always consult your healthcare provider if you experience any unusual symptoms while taking Arava.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Arava can cause serious liver injury and should be used with caution in individuals with pre-existing liver disease. Regular monitoring of liver function is advised during treatment with Arava.

Remember that this article serves as an informational guide, and it is imperative to consult your healthcare provider before starting or changing any medication.

7. Side effects

While Arava can be effective in treating certain conditions, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects that this medication may cause. It is recommended to discuss the possible risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before starting this treatment.

Gastrointestinal Effects:

  • Common gastrointestinal side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
  • In some cases, these symptoms may be mild and temporary.
  • If you experience persistent or severe gastrointestinal side effects, it is important to inform your doctor.

Liver Function Abnormalities:

  • Arava can sometimes cause liver problems.
  • Regular monitoring of liver function is advised during treatment.
  • If you notice symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark urine, or persistent fatigue, seek medical attention immediately.

Respiratory Problems:

  • In rare cases, Arava may lead to interstitial lung disease, a serious condition affecting the lungs.
  • Symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
  • If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider promptly.

Blood Disorders:

  • Arava may cause a decrease in the number of certain blood cells, such as white blood cells and platelets.
  • Regular blood tests may be recommended to monitor these levels.
  • If you notice signs of infection (such as fever, sore throat), unusual bleeding or bruising, contact your doctor.

Hypersensitivity Reactions:

  • In some rare cases, Arava can cause allergic reactions, including skin rashes, itching, and hives.
  • If you develop any allergic symptoms, discontinue the medication and seek immediate medical attention.

It is important to note that this list of side effects is not exhaustive, and there may be other potential risks associated with taking Arava. Always consult with your healthcare professional and carefully read the medication’s leaflet for a complete understanding of its possible effects.