Aubagio : Uses, Side effects, and Interactions
What is Aubagio ?
Aubagio is a prescription medicine for treating multiple sclerosis symptoms in adults. Multiple sclerosis is a persistent disease in which the immune cells attack the protective sheath covering the brain and the spinal cord.
The drug prevents the quick multiplication of the immune cells, prevents inflammation, and slows the disease progression. Aubagio may be used singly or with other medication
Key facts of Aubagio
- In 2012, the FDA ( Food and Drug Administration) approved the use of the Aubagio drug
- Aubagio contains teriflunomide as the active ingredient.
- Teriflunomide is an immunomodulatory drug that inhibits pyrimidine synthesis.
- Pyrimidine is one of the chemical compounds the cell utilizes to make the building blocks of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid(RNA).
- Immunomodulatory drugs are medications to reduce the immune response of the body
Mode of action
- The exact way how Aubagio works is still being determined.
- However, it is believed that Aubagio blocks specific proteins that make the immune system attack the protective sheath around the brain and the spinal cord
Dosage of Aubagio
- The prescribed dose of Aubagio depends on factors such as age, severity and type of disease, and other medications the person is already on.
- The doctor starts with a lower dose and then gradually adjusts to give the ideal amount suitable for the patient.
- The recommended dose the doctor usually prescribes is one tablet daily
- It is best to take Aubagio every day at the same time to maintain a steady level of the drug in the body and to get the best out of the drug.
- Aubagio is available in tablet form that can be swallowed. The available powers (strength) of Aubagio are as 7mg (milligrams) and 14 mg
Uses of Aubagio
Aubagio is used for treating the following conditions of multiple sclerosis:
- Clinically isolated syndrome
- Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
- Active secondary progressive multiple sclerosis
Clinically isolated syndrome
- It is the first nerve attack of multiple sclerosis. However, a person with clinically isolated syndrome always does not develop multiple sclerosis.
Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
- It is the stage in which the patient experiences periods of symptoms that worsens along with intermittent periods with no symptoms
Active secondary progressive multiple sclerosis
- It is the later stage of multiple sclerosis that worsens with time
Side effects of Aubagio
Common side effects of Aubagio
- Hair loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Liver damage
Mild side effects of Aubagio
- Joint pain
- Low levels of blood phosphate
- Hair loss
- Nausea and vomiting
Serious side effects of Aubagio
- High blood pressure
- Low WBC (white blood cell) count
- Numbness in the feet and hands
- Breathing difficulty
- Heart problem
- Lung problem
- Kidney malfunctioning
- Liver damage
- Severe Skin problem
- Serious allergic reaction
- To date, there is insufficient information on the overdose toxicity of Aubagio.
- However, if one has accidentally taken too much of Aubagio, he must immediately dial the emergency medical number according to the geographical location and seek medical help.
Precautions of Aubagio
Who should not take Aubagio
- Nursing mothers and children should avoid using the Aubagio drug due to a lack of information on the safety and efficiency of the drug in these groups.
- Pregnant women should avoid consuming Aubagio as it can cause significant congenital disabilities.
- People planning to get pregnant
- One with liver disease
- People with diabetes (high blood sugar)
- One with tuberculosis(a condition that affects the lungs)
- One with a previous allergic reaction to leflunomide and teriflunomide
- People on medication for rheumatoid arthritis
- People with an immune disorder
- With a blood disorder
- Aubagio can cause liver failure. Taking Aubagio with other drugs that affect the liver might cause complete liver damage
Interactions of Aubagio
Anticoagulant (Blood thinning medication)
- Taking Aubagio and anticoagulant viz; warfarin together might decrease the efficiency of the drug.
- It might cause the blood to clot
- Immunosuppressants are drugs to suppress the immune response of the body.
- Aubagio also suppresses the immune system So, taking Aubagio and immunosuppressants such as cancer drugs together might increase the risk of infections.
- Hormonal Contraceptives are birth control medications that prevent pregnancy.
- Taking Aubagio and Hormonal Contraceptives viz; ethinyl estradiol together might increase the hormone levels in the body, causing hormonal imbalance.
- Taking Aubagio and cholesterol-lowering medication together, such as atorvastatin, might increase the blood levels of the medication.
- It might increase the side effects of the drug.
Live vaccines (Rubella vaccine, mumps vaccine)
- A live vaccine is a biological preparation that contains the germ in a weakened form.
- In rare cases, in people with a weakened immune system, the live vaccine-weakened germ can convert to a full-strength germ and can cause the disease in the person instead of preventing it.
- Aubagio weakens the immune response of the body.
- Taking Aubagio and live vaccine together puts the individual at risk of developing the disease instead of getting the prevention.
- Leflunomide is a drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
- Taking Aubagio and Leflunomide together might increase the blood levels of Aubagio.
- It might damage the liver
Some other medications that might interact with Aubagio are as follows:
- Bacillus Calmette-Guerin(BCG)
- Topical tacrolimus
Alternatives to Aubagio
- Gilenya is an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis in both adults and children of 10 years and above.
- Gilenya contains fingolimod as the active ingredient.
- Tecfidera is an FDA-approved drug for multiple sclerosis treatment.
- It contains dimethyl fumarate and belongs to a different drug class from Aubagio’s teriflunomide. So the drug’s mode of action is different for both Tecfidera and Aubagio.
Some of the other FDA-approved drugs for multiple sclerosis other than Aubagio are as follows:
Cost & Storage
Cost and Storage of Aubagio
- The cost of Aubagio varies as with all other medications. The actual price one has to pay depends on the geographical location, insurance coverage, and the health store one is using.
- One should keep the Aubagio tablets at room temperature (20 to 25-degree centigrade)
- One should keep it in a dry place away from direct sunlight
- One should keep it away from the reach of young children and kids
- One should immediately dispose of any unused drug safely in a thrash to prevent accidental consumption by animals and pets.
- One should throw away the drugs that have crossed the expiry date
- Aubagio is an FDA-approved drug for treating multiple sclerosis but is not a cure.
- It contains the active ingredient teriflunomide, which slows the disease progression.
- One prescribed with Aubagio drug must follow the dose directed by the physician to avoid unwanted complications.