Get A Quote

Leflunomide for Veterinary Use

If your pet is experiencing non-specific symptoms (nausea, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums) you should take your pet to your local veterinarian for an examination. In cases where a pet has an autoimmune disorder it can be especially difficult to determine the cause of your pet’s symptoms without comprehensive blood tests.
If your pet is diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder (immune-modulated hemolytic anemia, irritable bowel syndrome, and histiocytosis among several others) your veterinarian may prescribe a medication called leflunomide.

What Is Leflunomide?

Leflunomide is an immunosuppressive medication. It suppresses the immune system by causing a reduction in the autoimmune T-cell proliferation and autoantibody production by B cells. Along with its immunosuppressive effects, leflunomide also has antiviral properties.

Why Is Leflunomide Prescribed in Veterinary Medicine?

Leflunomide is used to treat a variety of autoimmune diseases in pets. This medication is usually prescribed as a second or third-line treatment when conventional treatments have been ineffective. Its versatility and effectiveness makes it a popular option with specialists.

Dosage and Administration of Leflunomide

Leflunomide is given orally and should be administered to the pet exactly as prescribed by your veterinarian. This medication is dosed to your pet’s body weight and may initially be prescribed on the lower range for your veterinarian to determine how well your pet is tolerating the medication. Most commonly, this medication will be dosed once daily. The frequency and dose may change based on your pet’s response to the medication and bloodwork results. Regular bloodwork is required with this medication.
If you miss a dose of leflunomide, then give the next dose as soon as you remember, or if it is close to the next scheduled dose, then wait and resume with the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not administer a double dose to try and catch up on a missed dose.

Special Precautions for Using Leflunomide

When a pet has been prescribed leflunomide, baseline bloodwork and regular bloodwork checks are required to monitor for changes as therapy continues. This medication should be avoided in pregnant pets or pets that may be bred. Extreme caution is required if a pet has known liver or kidney insufficiency. Avoid use in pets that have an active infection or displaying signs/symptoms of an infection.

Possible Side Effects of Leflunomide

Leflunomide is generally very well tolerated by animals.. The most common side effects associated with this drug include deceased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and fur loss/thinning.

More severe side effects include changes to blood cell counts (thrombocytopenia, lymphopenia, anemia), bleeding, skin rash, and infections

Known Drug Interactions With Leflunomide

If your pet is taking other medications, vitamins, herbal therapies, or supplements, you should discuss them with the veterinarian and pharmacist to help avoid any potential risk of interaction with leflunomide. Some of the medications known to cause unwanted interactions with this drug include immunosuppressants, fluconazole, and theophylline. Many other drugs that are primarily metabolized by the liver can also cause potentially sever side effects.

Proper Storage and Disposal of Leflunomide

Leflunomide should be stored at a controlled room temperature away from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight. Do not store it in the freezer or the refrigerator. If your veterinarian discontinues the leflunomide treatment, the remaining medication should be disposed of in the trash. To dispose of this medication, remove it from its original container and mix it with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or cat litter. Put the medication in a sealable bag or container and dispose of in regular trash



The Benefits of Leflunomide