Treating rheumatoid arthritis by reducing signs and symptoms, improving physical function, and preventing the development of structural damage to the joints.
Arava is a pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor. It is thought to work by blocking certain enzymes responsible for abnormal tissue development or growth.
Arava may cause fetal harm (eg, birth defects) or fetal death. Do not take Arava if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant and are not using an effective form of birth control. You must make sure you are not pregnant before you start Arava. Do not become pregnant while you take Arava or for as long as any medicine remains in your body after you stop treatment. Arava may stay in the body for 2 years or longer after you stop it. Women who may become pregnant must use effective birth control while they take Arava and for as long as any medicine remains in the body.
After you stop Arava, your doctor may prescribe other medicines to help remove Arava from your body more quickly. Blood tests may also be performed to check if any medicine remains in the body. Talk with your doctor for more information and if you have questions about effective birth control.
Serious and sometimes fatal liver problems have been reported with Arava. Your doctor will monitor your liver function while you use Arava to check for liver problems. Do not take Arava if you have liver problems or if you have abnormal liver function tests before taking Arava. Ask your doctor if you are taking other medicines that may harm the liver. Contact your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver problems, such as dark urine, pale stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes, stomach pain, severe or persistent nausea or loss of appetite, or unusual tiredness.
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Back pain; diarrhea; dizziness; hair loss; headache; indigestion; muscle aches; nausea; runny nose; weakness; weight loss.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blisters on the inside of the eyes, nose, or mouth; burning, numbness, or tingling; chest pain; fast or irregular heartbeat; muscle cramps, including leg cramps; new or worsening breathing problems (eg, cough or shortness of breath, with or without fever); red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe or persistent vomiting; symptoms of high blood pressure (eg, severe or persistent headache or dizziness, vision changes); symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, sore throat, cough, increased or painful urination); symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes, stomach pain, severe or persistent nausea or loss of appetite); unusual or easy bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness; unusually pale skin.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.