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Switching from MTX to leflunomide?

Due to a chronic cough, my RA doc suggests I switch from MTX to Leflunomide.This presents another unknown and scary step for me into a new med.,since except for this annoying cough, I have enjoyed being pain free with MTX.

I have already read a number of posts regarding Leflunomide here, but have not found too many experiences posted of those who have been actually happy with the results.

Thank you,

  1. I was pleased with the result, with one exception. I developed mouth sores. Using Leucovorin has made all the difference.

    1. Thank you, I will keep that product in mind. Hope I won't need it.

      1. I too have just switched to Leflunomide…was taking hydroxychlorquine from my previous Rheumatolgist with no results. I had to travel out of town to see my Rheumatolgist since there were none in my small town. Fortunately we finally have a Rheumatolgist in our city and I have switched to him. He has put me on Leflunomide 20 mg. Today is day 10 of taking it with only gastrointestinal side effects so far. What concerns me is he is not going to do blood work for 3 months, and then I see him in four months. He is already overbooked with little staff since is is our only Rheumatolgist! So I’ve been researching about Leflunomide and what I found when googling(which I don’t trust everything I read on there) was when starting it you should have lab work done sooner. Don’t know if this is true or not and was wondering if anyone is also on Leflunomide and how often did you have lab work done to monitor it?

        1. Hi . From what I understand, Blood work should be done every couple of weeks when you are first starting a DMARD, but we are not medical experts. So I can't say for certain whether that applies to Leflunomide. Are you able to message your doctor or can you call and talk to his nurse? You shouldn't need an appointment. Your doctor order the blood work, and then call you in if there is a reason for concern. If you are worried about the potential effects, I would push for the blood work. There is no harm in it and it should burden your doctor any further. Wishing you the best. - Lori (Team Member)

      2. Thanks for the response! I did send a message on patient portal 6 days ago and sent several more since then. No reply as of yet. This is a new doctor and he is overbooked already. No one even answers the phone or calls me back. I’ve just contacted my primary doctor and hopefully he can help.

        1. , I'm glad you made the call! I am dealing with my own doctor issues in a different way. As frustrating and time consuming as it may be, don't hesitate to keep calling, every day if necessary! Sometimes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I hope your PCP is able to offer some assistance as well. And, maybe your PCP can give you some leads on different ways to try to connect with this new physician. Sometimes, they can have the inside scoop so you can avoid the phone hassle. Good luck! Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.

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