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Leflunomide yes or no

Hi, new to RA and new to this site. Dr. started me on hydroxychloroquine but got hives after a week. I can't take any NSAIDs, or prednisone because I am on Plavix for my heart. Now she wants to put me on Leflunomide. I read a lot about this drug and it frankly scares me. The info I see shows only a 54% success rate and can cause liver damage. In addition, can't take tylenol (my only pain reliever) or be around sick people.

I'm thinking of trying alternative tratments. Is there someone who can tell about both the drug from experience and/or alternatives? Thanks.

  1. Sorry to hear about the diagnosis, Marny, and the difficulty finding a treatment. Leflunomide is considered a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). As this article from our editorial team overviewing leflunomide discusses, the success rate you mention is accurate (pretty comparable to methotrexate) There can be potential liver issues with leflunomide and your doctor would monitor you for liver function. Hopefully some community members can offer their direct experiences.

    There are quite a few potential treatments for RA. This article from the editorial team offers an overview of many treatments, with links to more specifics: Hope this information is helpful. Please know you are welcome here anytime for information and support. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)

    1. Thanks for the info!

      1. Hi Marny

        I have RA, a bad case, I also have had a heart attack, plus I have hypertension and many other health issues, all which have arrived after my RA suddenly arrived over night a decade ago ..... Some of them are drug related such as my Diabetes 2 because of prednisolone use.

        Myself I used Leflunomide (Arava) for many years, maybe five years.... It worked really well for me, controlled both the damage and much of the pain... However because it worked for me, that means nothing for you, it may or may not work in your body.

        The note of caution and why I have been forced to stop taking Arava is that it has a contraindication for Hyper tension and it put my blood pressure through the roof, like 190/115....... I took boatloads of anti-Hyper tension drugs but eventually even they stopped working ............ So, it may not affect you that way at all, but keep an eye on your BP is my advice.

        Good luck.

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