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What should I know about leflunomide before taking it?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Your doctor will need to do blood tests, check your liver function and blood pressure, and give you a tuberculin skin test before you start treatment. Women will need a pregnancy test.

If you are over age 65, leflunomide may not be a good option for you.

If you have an immune system problem, leflunomide can lead to side effects and should be avoided.

Leflunomide is not recommended for people with psoriatic arthritis affecting the spine or sacroiliac joints.

If you have a blood disease, leflunomide can lead to side effects and should be avoided.

If you have diabetes, interstitial lung disease, or impaired kidney function, leflunomide may not be a good option for you.

If you have had tuberculosis or a positive TB screening test, you should avoid leflunomide.

If you have had recurrent infections, leflunomide can lead to side effects and should be avoided.

If you have liver disease or high liver enzyme levels, you should not take leflunomide.

If you are pregnant, you should not take leflunomide.

If you are breastfeeding, leflunomide may not be a good option for you. It is not known if this drug can be passed into breast milk.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.