Leflunomide is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
What is changing?
You are currently prescribed leflunomide and you may know this as the brand Arava. From 1 April 2017 there will be a change in the subsidised brand of leflunomide from Arava to Apo-Leflunomide.
When will the change happen?
- From 1 April 2017 the Apo-Leflunomide brand will be fully subsidised.
- From 1 June 2017 a part payment may be required for the Arava brand of leflunomide.
- From 1 September 2017 only the brand Apo-Leflunomide will be available fully subsidised. If you wish to continue to take Arava it will no longer be subsidised and you will have to pay for it.
The information below may help answer some questions you may have about this change.
Will the medicine work the same?
Your medicine itself is not changing, only the brand. The newly funded tablets contain the same amount of the active ingredient – leflunomide. This means that you should have the same effect from taking Apo-Leflunomide as you do taking your current brand.
Medsafe, the agency that approves medicine for use in New Zealand, approved Apo-Leflunomide after carefully considering its safety and effectiveness. Medsafe considers that Apo-Leflunomide should have the same effect as Arava.
You shouldn’t notice any difference in how you feel after taking Apo-Leflunomide. If you have any concerns, please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist
Will my current brand be available after 1 September 2017?
If you do want to keep using the Arava brand of leflunomide, you can ask your pharmacist to check the price and availability. However, after 1 September 2017 all costs of purchasing this brand would have to be met by you because it will no longer be subsidised.
Will the new brand cost me anymore?
Other than the usual patient co-payment, there will be no extra cost for Apo-Leflunomide.
Where can I go for more information:
You can contact PHARMAC on 0800 66 00 50 between 9 am and 4 pm on weekdays if you would like more information about this change, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your doctor, nurse and pharmacist will also help guide you during the changeover period.
Arthritis New Zealand on 0800 663 463 or at www.arthritis.org.nz (external link) are also available to provide general information for people living with arthritis.
Last updated: 15 March 2017