Teriflunomide is a treatment for relapsing MS. Its brand name is Aubagio.
Teriflunomide is recommended for the treatment of 'active' relapsing MS. This has been defined in guidelines as when you have two or more relapses in the last two years. But more and more MS specialists are defining 'active' MS as one recent relapse and/or signs on MRI scans that MS is active.
- You can take teriflunomide if you have relapsing MS and you've had a recent relapse and/or if MRI scans show new signs that your MS is active (you have new lesions)
We don't know exactly how teriflunomide works, but it dampens down inflammation. Your immune system makes cells, called T-cells, that kill viruses and bacteria. But in MS these cells are believed to attack the coating (called myelin) around nerves in your brain and spinal cord. This drug stops T-cells getting into your brain and spinal cord, and causing damage to the nerves there.
Teriflunomide is a tablet you take once a day.
MS drugs can be put into three groups based on how well they control it. The effectiveness of teriflunomide is classed as 'moderate', the least effective of the three groups. This is based on how much it reduces relapses and slows down how fast people's disability gets worse.
Relapses dropped by: 31%
This means that in a trial, on average, people saw a 31% drop in the numbers of relapses they had. This was compared to people who took a placebo, a dummy treatment with no drug in it.
Disability getting worse was slowed by: 30%
This means that in a trial, on average, people saw a 30% drop in the risk of their disability getting worse. This was compared to people who took a placebo.
What are the side effects of teriflunomide?
Compared to other DMTs the risk of side effects, especially serious ones, is among the lowest.
More than one in 10 people get headaches, diarrhoea or feel sick. Your hair might get thinner but it grows back after six months. You might be more likely to get common infections like colds, 'cold sores', urinary tract or chest infections.