Leflunomide therapy for autoimmune diseases

  • Angela Gause
  • Claudia Metzler
  • Eva Reinhold-Keller
  • Wolfgang L. Gross


Leflunomide has been shown to be an effective drug for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis in animal models and in humans. By its action on the enzyme dehydro-orotat-dehydrogenase it interferes with pyrimidine nucleoside biosynthesis and acts on the proliferation of activated lymphocytes (Fox et al. 1999, Case 2001). Because of its immunomodulatory actions it is a drug which will be interesting also for other autoimmune diseases; further mechanisms beside the lymphocyte inhibitory effect may contribute to its effectiveness. The scope of this article is not a complete review of mechanisms and applications of leflunomide but a summary of new insights in action and applications in autoimmune diseases other than rheumatoid arthritis for further potential use.


Herpes Simplex Virus Type Giant Cell Arteritis Bullous Pemphigoid Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody Pyrimidine Nucleoside 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Gause
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claudia Metzler
    • 1
  • Eva Reinhold-Keller
    • 1
  • Wolfgang L. Gross
    • 1
  1. 1.Poliklinik für RheumatologieUniversitätsklinikum Lübeck, Lübeck and Innere Medizin/Rheumatologie/Klinische Immunologie, Rheumaklinik Bad BramstedtBad BramstedtGermany
  2. 2.Poliklinik für RheumatologieUniversitätsklinikum LübeckLübeckFederal Republic of Germany

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