Rheumatoid arthritis drug Arava
(leflunomide) is linked to at least 12 liver failure deaths.
Public Citizen filed a petition to the FDA urging them to review the
deaths and serious illnesses that have been attributed to the
use of Arava (leflunomide). Former FDA scientific adviser Dr. David
Yocum supports Public Citizen's petition because "here we have
12 deaths, and these patients died very quickly. All I can say is,
this needs to be reviewed."
Citizen's petition followed the February 2001 European Agency for
the Evaluation of Medical Products warning issued to doctors and
patients citing nine liver failure deaths in Arava patients. Two
months following, Arava manufacturer Aventis Pharmaceuticals issued
a warning letter to physicians. Last August, the American College
of Rheumatology then published a warning to doctors and patients
urging a monthly blood test be performed in an Arava patient's first
six months with follow up tests every two to three months after.
Yocum said he has never supported taking a drug off the market,
"but it's kind of scary, what we see." (MSNBC, 3-29-02)
more news on Arava!
Director of Arizona Arthritis Center and former scientific adviser
to the FDA, Dr. David Yocum, says it is impossible to predict which
patients will be at risk, making Arava use dangerous due to the
serious and fatal complications associated to the rheumatoid arthritis
drug. Yocum feels, "I do not believe that the general rheumatologist
understands or has any knowledge about these serious and potentially
life-threatening complications." (Yahoo, 3-28-02) >read
more about Arava side effects!
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the inflammation of the lining of the
joints and/or other internal organs, typically affecting many different
joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can be a chronic condition that affects
the entire body. >read
more about RA!
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at this time, but
treatment options, like leflunomide (Arava) have been created to
manage the pain and swelling that occurs in the joints. There are
currently no real effective treatment options due to the serious
adverse effects that are associated to rheumatoid arthritis prescription
drugs, such as leflunomide (Arava). >read
more about treatment options!
MedWatch is the FDA's program that allows consumer to report serious
reactions and problems with medical products. So far, there have
been at least 130 cases of severe liver problems (hepatoxicity)
and 22 deaths since Arava's arrival to the market in 1998. It is
estimated that there is a 10-100 fold of underreporting that occurs
with a drug's adverse effects. >read
more on reporting adverse effects!