Leflunomide falls under the category of DMARD drugs that attack the condition instead of just concentrating on just its symptoms. It is primarily associated with rheumatoid arthritis and that is why it might have negative effects on your immune system. Patients that have used this form of treatment have reported that they get relief from pain as well as the general stiffness of the joint which is a characteristic of this disease. This is the treatment that might take away the possibility of falling into a serious disability.
The procedure for taking Leflunomide
You need to take one tablet a day. The medication can be taken at any time during the day and is therefore practical for people that are working away from home. You should try to get into a routine where you consume the medication at the same time during the day. That will help you in the long run. The doctor will be supervising the medication even when they are not directly in contact with you when you take the medication. They might recommend tablets of about 10 mg or they could increase it to 20 mg depending on how the body is responding. As a general principle, you should not remain on medication unless it is absolutely necessary. The reactive status of the drug is not immediate. You might see the first signs of improvement in about six weeks. It will take up to six months before you feel the full benefit of the medication.
Some of the side effects that are associated with Leflunomide include nausea as well as diarrhea. You could get mouth ulcers as well as unexplained weight loss. Patients might suffer from stomach pain as well as dizziness. It has been known to bring on constant headaches and migraines. Hair loss might be accompanied by dry skin as well as an increase in blood pressure. All these are very serious side effects and you have to have a discussion with your physician as to whether it is feasible to continue with the treatment in light of the side effects that are described. The use of Leflunomide might affect the blood count. That means that your body is vulnerable to infection. Eventually you might get irreversible liver damage if you do not take corrective measures.
Leflunomide and the immune system
If you look at the symptoms that are associated with taking Leflunomide, they are very similar to the ones that would be faced by a patient whose immune system has been compromised. Arthritis that is a result of autoimmune diseases might be treated by suppressing the activity of the immunity system. Nevertheless this course of action might have unintended consequences for the patient and their family. The immune system can be very powerful but it can also be very delicate. It is important that there are measures in place to ensure that the patient is properly protected. This might mean that there are different treatment methods that are considered. If the end result is positive then the patient can be supported.