Key points about teriflunomide

  • Teriflunomide is used to treat multiple sclerosis.
  • Teriflunomide is also called Aubagio.
  • Find out how to take it safely and the possible side effects.
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Teriflunomide is used to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). Teriflunomide belongs to a group of medicines called disease-modifying therapies which help to slow or reduce the worsening of disability in people with relapsing remitting MS.

MS is caused by your immune system mistakenly attacking the myelin sheath in your brain and spinal cord. It is thought that specific types of B cells and T cells in your body are involved in the attack. Teriflunomide stops T-cells getting into your brain and spinal cord and causing damage to the nerves. Read more about multiple sclerosis.

  • In Aotearoa New Zealand teriflunomide comes as tablets (14 mg).
  • The usual dose is 1 tablet once daily.
  • Always take teriflunomide exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label will tell you how much to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

  • Water: Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water.
  • Food: You can take teriflunomide with or without food.
  • Take it regularly: Take your tablet at the same time each day.
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But if it's nearly time for your next dose, take the next dose at the right time. Don't take extra doses to make up for a forgotten dose.

Here are some things to know when you're taking teriflunomide. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you should know about.

  • Increased risk of infections: Teriflunomide weakens your body’s defence (immune) system, so you're more likely to pick up infections. It's important to avoid anyone who has chickenpox or shingles.
  • Pregnancy: You should avoid becoming pregnant while you are having teriflunomide and for a few months after your last dose. Talk to your healthcare provider about which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while using teriflunomide.
  • Vaccines: Some vaccines shouldn't be taken if you are on teriflunomide. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist first. It's safe for you to have the annual flu vaccine.
  • Other medicines: Teriflunomide may interact with a few medicines and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting teriflunomide or before starting any new medicines, including those you may buy over-the-counter.
  • Blood tests: You will need to have blood tests monthly for the first 6 months and then less often to check your liver. To reduce your risk of liver problems, it's important to avoid or limit alcohol while you're taking teriflunomide.

Like all medicines, teriflunomide can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Diarrhoea (runny poo)
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Skin rash, itchy skin
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Numbness or tingling of hands or feet
  • Tell your doctor if they bother you.
  • Signs of an infections, eg, fever, cough, skin rash, sore throat, diarrhoea (runny poo) or generally feeling weak and unwell
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.
  • Signs of problems with your liver, eg, yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, itchy skin, pain in the abdomen

  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.
Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.(external link)

The following links provide further information about teriflunomide. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.


  1. Teriflunomide(external link) New Zealand Formulary

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland

Last reviewed: