Learning More About Products for RA

Leflunomide
This medication reduces signs and symptoms and slows structural damage to joints caused by arthritis.
 
Side effects can include bloody or cloudy urine; congestion in chest; cough; diarrhea; difficult, burning, or painful urination or breathing; fever; hair loss; headache; heartburn; loss of appetite; nausea and/or vomiting; skin rash; abdominal pain (or stomach pain); sneezing; and sore throat.
 
Before taking this medication, let your healthcare provider know if you have one of the following: an active infection, liver disease, known immune deficiency, renal insufficiency, or underlying malignancy. You will need regular blood tests, including liver function tests. Leflunomide must not be taken during pregnancy because it may cause birth defects in humans.
 
Methotrexate
This medication can be taken by mouth or by injection and results in rapid improvement (it usually takes three to six weeks to begin working). It appears to be very effective, especially in combination with infliximab or etanercept. In general, it produces more favorable long-term responses compared with other DMARDs such as sulfasalazine, gold sodium thiomalate, and hydroxychloroquine.
 
Side effects can include abdominal discomfort, chest pain, chills, nausea, mouth sores, painful urination, sore throat, and unusual tiredness or weakness.
 
Doctor monitoring is important, particularly if you have an abnormal blood count, liver or lung disease, alcoholism, immune-system deficiency, or an active infection. Methotrexate must not be taken during pregnancy because it may cause birth defects in humans.
 
Sulfasalazine
This medication works to reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by suppressing the immune system.
 
Side effects can include abdominal pain (or stomach pain), aching joints, diarrhea, headache, sensitivity to sunlight, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, and skin rash.
 
Doctor monitoring is important, particularly if you are allergic to sulfa medications or aspirin, or if you have a kidney, liver, or blood disease.
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