Relevant BNF section: 10.1.3
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are given to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to prevent synovitis, slow destruction of articular cartilage and bone, preserve function and control systemic manifestations of the disease. Recognition that irreversible joint damage often occurs early in RA has led to much prompter use of DMARDs, with sulfasalazine or methotrexate commonly considered the treatment of first choice.1 ▼Leflunomide (Arava - Aventis) is a new DMARD, licensed for the treatment of adults with active RA. The manufacturer claims that leflunomide has "comparable efficacy to methotrexate and sulphasalazine", with a "faster onset of action", and an "acceptable tolerability profile". Here, we consider the place of leflunomide in the management of patients with RA.
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