If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor might suggest Arava as a treatment option for you.

Arava is a prescription medication that’s used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in adults.

Arava belongs to a group of drugs called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The active ingredient in Arava is leflunomide. This means leflunomide is the ingredient that makes Arava work.

This article describes the dosages of Arava, as well as its strengths and how to take the drug. To learn more about Arava, see this in-depth article.

Note: This article covers Arava’s typical dosages, which are provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But when using Arava, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.

This section covers common dosage information for Arava.

What is Arava’s form?

Arava comes as tablets that you swallow.

What strengths does Arava come in?

Arava tablets are available in three strengths: 10 milligrams (mg), 20 mg, and 100 mg.

What are the typical dosages of Arava?

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

The recommended Arava dosage for rheumatoid arthritis is 20 mg taken once daily. Some people may take a loading dose of Arava to build up the medication levels in their bloodstream more quickly.

If your doctor decides that it’s safe for you to take an Arava loading dose, you’ll take 100 mg once daily for 3 days. After that, you’ll take 20 mg once daily.

Your doctor may decrease your Arava dose to 10 mg once daily if you have certain side effects from the drug.

The maximum dose of Arava is 20 mg taken once per day.

Is Arava used long term?

Yes, Arava is typically used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Arava is safe and effective for you, it’s likely that you’ll use it long term.

Dosage adjustments

If you have certain medical conditions or take certain medications, your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage of Arava for you. Or they may adjust your dosage during your treatment. To learn more, see the “What factors can affect my dosage?” section directly below.

The dosage of Arava you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • if you take certain other medications
  • if you have medical conditions that affect your liver
  • how well your body tolerates Arava, including whether the drug:
    • affects your liver
    • causes other side effects

You’ll take Arava once daily. The drug can be taken with or without food.

For information on Arava expiration, storage, and disposal, see this article.

Accessible drug containers and labels

If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies may provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use braille
  • feature a code that you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to supply Arava in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also have some tips that can help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

If you miss a dose of Arava, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at its usual time. You shouldn’t take two doses of the drug to make up for a missed dose. Doing so could raise your risk of side effects from Arava.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Arava on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Don’t use more Arava than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

If you think you’ve taken too much Arava, let your doctor know right away. Your doctor may prescribe other medications to help your body get rid of Arava more quickly.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an Arava overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much Arava

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Arava. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

The sections above describe the typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Arava for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you shouldn’t change your dosage of Arava without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Arava exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How long will I need to wait before becoming pregnant after I stop taking Arava?
  • Does my dosage of Arava need to change if I’m taking other medications with it?
  • Can I take a loading dose for fewer than 3 days if I have side effects from Arava?
  • Can I take Arava if I had hepatitis several years ago?

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How long will it take for Arava to work if I don’t take a loading dose?



Arava takes a long time to build up in your system enough to begin easing your symptoms. Without a loading dose, it usually takes at least 2 months of treatment to reach this point. (A loading dose is a high dose given at the start of treatment to help a medication work faster.)

If you take a loading dose, Arava should begin relieving your symptoms in about 14 to 18 days (depending on your daily dose).

Loading doses of Arava may not be safe for people with liver problems or those taking certain medications. To find out if a loading dose would be safe for you, talk with your doctor.

Patricia Weiser, PharmDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.