Removing Leflunomide from body..HELP!

Has anyone else had to take the medication to remove Arava (Leflunomide) from your system? I took 10mg per day for 21 days, and had horrible side effects. Stopped the medication and my hair continued to fall out in handfuls… My doc said the medication stays in your liver for up to 10 years, so maybe that is why my hair continues to fall out. Started med to absorb the resin from my system and I am now in major pain. 11 out of 10 kind of pain… Only took first pack of medication, and it is supposed to be taken 3x per day??? HELP!

Cholestyramine has a few side effects, but thats not one I have heard of. cholestyramine is generally only used when someone wants to get pregnant or has really high cholesterol. I ve never heard the ten year figure, maybe two without intervention. In any event ask your doc to run a thyroid panel especially T-4. You may find some answers there.

In addition to the cholestyramine, any estrogen or prednisone will foul things up. The pain makes no sense. I'd be calling ASAP. Altough cholytramine does cause extreme constpation which can cause a lot of pain not to joints of course

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Gall stones, but usually that takes a few doses.........

I've never heard of it taking up to ten years to get out of your system, I've researched and have seen two years. I'm also on Leflunomide 20mg daily. I'm also having a fair amount of hair loss, however have started back on biotin, so hopefully that will help. Sorry to hear your having a big increase in pain :-( I agree with Lamb, maybe contact your doctor and see what he/she recommends.

Thank you, tntlamb and taraLynn… Believe me, every blood test has been run… It’s not my thyroid, and I don’t have a gallbladder, so there are no stones. They tested the Leflunomide level pre-cholestyramine, and I go back in two weeks for a retest. I see two specialists, and they both agreed I needed to take this stuff… The pain could also be because I was off the Stelara for 6 weeks then just restarted it 3 weeks ago. I get my next shot in a week… I had a really obvious reaction to the Leflunomide with lots of hair falling out. My dr. thought the hair loss would stop when I went off the medication, but it didn’t. That’s why I am on the cholestyramine. I am on Biotin, and I am doing everything else natural that can be done… So we’ll see. It is encouraging to hear from other people who have dealt with the pain and frustration of PsA. I lost almost all of my hair three years ago after I had meningitis and an abscess… Was just really feeling fortunate to have had my hair grow back, then it falls out again. Oh well.

Okay… I am questioning the need to take this cholestyramine now. You are right, the literature from the manufacturer of Arava and all of the websites say 2 years in the system… The most interesting thing I found says the hairless starts about a month from starting the drug, and will run its course for a few months after stopping the drug. I certainly don’t need to worry about pregnancy at this juncture in my life (age 55) so maybe I should hold off on the cholestyramine for now. Constipation does not sound like something I want or need! Thank you for being there to discuss this today. It is really is ineffective trying to discuss PsA symptoms, meds, and side effects with anyone who has never experienced this awful disease.

I took Leflunomide for 2 months and had to stop due to severe nausea. My Rheumatologist told me that the RX to remove it from my system wouldn't be needed as I didn't take it that long. The literature I read says it stays 2 years not 10. Are you sure? I started off taking it every other day then M-F daily, but like I said the nausea is why I stopped. It's a shame as I found it very effective with the Remicade Infusion. Now we are back to square one as the Remicade alone isn't doing much. I had no other side effects. I am so sorry you have gone through this !

Thanks, erinsmum! You are right… Everything I can find says the medication stays in your body two years, not ten. I have no idea why my rheumatologist said 10 years… She has a busy practice, and has been functioning without her two ARNP’s for the last couple of months so maybe she was spaced out when she said it… At any rate, I am sorry you had side effects and had to go off of it. Did you try any of the other biologics?