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Is leflunomide effective for rheumatoid arthritis?

Q: Is leflunomide therapy in rheumatoid arthritis safe? Are there any adverse effects due to this? Can you also provide the name of drug with brand name and company?

A:The question that you have asked is one of the most difficult one to answer. There are several facts that must be known before the question can be answered scientifically. These are as follows: 1. Are you being treated by a qualified and experienced rheumatologist (not orthopaedic surgeon)? This is necessary because rheumatologists are more experienced in monitoring the patients for adverse drug effects and can predict the same much before the actual event. 2. Who has diagnosed you as having rheumatoid arthritis and what other medicines were given to you earlier and what other medicines are being given to you presently? This is important because so-called painkillers increase the chances of adverse effect of leflunomide. 3. What other additional diseases (co-morbid conditions) do you have? Several diseases can increase the chances of adverse effects of leflunomide. Obesity and over weight, alcohol intake, are other things that markedly increase the chances of adverse effects of this drug. 4. Arava (brand name of leflunomide) is the only one that is manufactured strictly according to the internationally laid down norms. Therefore, that is the ONLY brand that I use on my patients. 5. If my patients start to get any adverse effects, depending upon the type of problem the treatment is done. This will have to be decided by your treating rheumatologist. I hope I have been able to give you a hint of how difficult your question is and tried to answer the same as scientifically as possible.

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