Aubagio (chemically known as teriflunomide), marketed by Sanofi, is an active metabolite of the compound leflunomide and is a pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor. It is an oral formulation that has immunomodulatory properties, and can mitigate the rate and extent of damage caused to nerve fibers in neurodegenerative conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS).
History of Aubagio
After undergoing a series of clinical trials to prove its safety and efficacy in patients with relapsing and remitting forms of MS, Aubagio was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2012 and by the European Union in August 2013. The landmark study for gaining acceptance was the Phase 3 clinical trial TEMSO, which reported positive results in reduced annualized relapse rates and time to disability progression at two years versus placebo.
How Aubagio Works
The mode of action of teriflunomide involves inhibition of pyrimidine synthesis by blocking a key enzyme, dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, needed by white blood cells (lymphocytes) to continue proliferation and maturation of T- and B-lymphocytes, which are involved in inflammatory reactions. These reactions are believed to be the driving force in the development of lesions on myelin sheaths, leading to damage and death of nerve fibers in multiple sclerosis. It also inhibits the production of immune messenger chemicals (cytokines) and transcription factors by T-cells.
Dosage of Aubagio is mostly once daily after a meal. According to Sanofi, patients with liver or kidney problems should consult with a physician before taking Aubagio. In addition, women who are planning to conceive or are pregnant should avoid the drug, so as to avoid unnecessary harm to the unborn child. The common side effects of Aubagio include headache, diarrhea, nausea, hair loss, skin irritation, and occasional breathing problems. Consultation with a specialist is recommended.
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