Leflunomide Is Effective for Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Leflunomide, marketed under the brand name Arava, is a safe and effective treatment for early rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study in International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Leflunomide, marketed under the brand name Arava, is a safe and effective treatment for early rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study in International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Researchers from the rheumatology department of several Chinese institutions collaborated to verify the safety and efficacy of the prescription drug leflunomide. The team studied two different dose prescriptions and discovered similar results between the weekly regimens.

The cohort consisted of 244 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis experiencing mild to moderate disease activity.They were randomly assigned to either the treatment group of leflunomide 50 mg/week (LEF 50) or the control group of leflunomide 10 mg/day (LEF 10). Both groups continued the regimens for 24 weeks. The team determined clinical efficacy by measuring disease activity in 28 joints (DAS28) — ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate). EULAR responses (European League Against Rheumatism) were gathered to indicate factors such as pain, stiffness, and joint inflammation. A Chi-squared test, Fisher’s exact-test, and paired t-tests verified the data.

At the start of the study, DAS28 (ESR) scores were 4.41 ± 0.69 (LEF 50) and 4.52 ±0.64 (LEF 10). By week 24, the figures significantly decreased to 2.94 ±1.10 (LEF 50) and 3.02 ±1.14 (LEF 10). In addition, EULAR responses were collected at weeks eight, 12, and 24. In relation to the week marks, the LEF 50 group rates were 47.6%, 58.7%, and 59.5% while the LEF 10 group rates were 43.2%, 49.1%, and 53.4%.

The authors confirmed that there was not a significant difference between the LEF 50 and LEF 10 groups in both DAS28 (ESR) scores and EULAR responses. They also noted that no serious adverse events occurred.

“A weekly dose of 50 mg leflunomide showed similar benefits to a daily dose of 10 mg leflunomide for the treatment of mild-to-moderate early rheumatoid arthritis,” the team affirmed.