What side effects can leflunomide have?
Below you will find the most important information about possible known side effects of Leflunomide.
These side effects do not occur, but you can. Because every person reacts differently to medication. Please also note that the type and frequency of side effects may vary depending on the drug formulation (eg tablet, syringe, ointment).
Common side effects:
lack of white blood cells, mild allergic reactions, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, elevated liver enzyme levels (transaminases, gamma-GT, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin), inflammation the oral mucosa, oral ulcers, weight loss, nervous sensation, headache, dizziness, tendonitis, eczema, spotty-pimply rashes, itching, dry skin, increased hair loss, low blood pressure increase, weakness.
Occasional side effects:
anemia, mild platelet deficiency, blood potassium deficiency, anxiety, taste changes, hives, tendon tear.
Rare side effects:
severe infections (including blood poisoning), excess of eosinophil blood cells, white blood cell deficiency, deficiency of all blood cells, severe hypertension, lung disease such as interstitial pneumonia, hepatitis, jaundice / biliary congestion.
Very rare side effects:
absence of granulocytes, severe allergic reactions (shock), inflammation of the blood vessels, dying from the skin, discomfort of arms and legs, pancreatitis, severe liver damage such as liver failure and liver death, severe skin reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme).
Treatment with leflunomide may cause a slight increase in blood lipid levels (cholesterol, triglycerides). The concentration of uric acid in the blood, on the other hand, can decrease, as can the phosphate content of the blood. A minor and reversible reduction in the total number of sperm, their concentration and motility can not be excluded.
Since the drug was introduced to the market, there has been one case of pulmonary hypertension during treatment with leflunomide. In addition, multiple breathlessness and coughing occurred. If symptoms occur, patients should consult their doctor.
Like other agents that suppress the body’s immune system, leflunomide can increase susceptibility to infection. As a result, the overall incidence of infections may increase (especially runny nose, acute bronchitis and pneumonia).
In case of significant side effects, the following active ingredients can help to eliminate leflunomide faster from the body: either eight grams of cholestyramine three times a day or 50 grams of activated carbon powder four times a day for a period of eleven days are given. Both methods significantly reduce the effect of birth control pills. Therefore, other methods of contraception must be used in their application.
What interactions does leflunomide show?
Please note that the interactions may vary depending on the drug formulation of a drug (eg tablet, syringe, ointment).
Taking side effects of leflunomide can be aggravated by the addition of drugs that are harmful to the liver and blood formation.
Clinical studies indicate that leflunomide may increase blood levels and thus the effects of anticoagulant agents such as phenytoin, warfarin, phenprocoumon and the diabetes drug tolbutamide. Conversely, the blood concentration of leflunomide was increased by the concomitant use of the tuberculosis drug rifampicin.
During treatment, do not take cholestyramine (blood cholesterol lowering agent) or charcoal powder, as these drugs lower the level of leflunomide and weaken its effects.
The efficacy and safety of vaccinations during leflunoimide treatment has not been studied. In particular with necessary live vaccinations the long residence time of the active substance is to be considered. Otherwise infections due to the vaccine can not be ruled out because of the reduced immune defense.