Aubagio (teriflunomide) is a prescription brand-name medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults:

With MS, your immune system mistakenly attacks your central nervous system. This makes it hard for your brain to send signals to your body. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue (lack of energy), trouble walking, weakness, and numbness or tingling in your body.

Aubagio is also used to treat clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). This is a period of one or more MS-like symptoms, which can be the first sign of MS. In this article, “MS” refers to CIS as well as the types of MS that Aubagio treats.

If you and your doctor agree Aubagio is working for your MS, you’ll likely take the drug long-term.

Here are some fast facts on Aubagio:

  • Active ingredient: teriflunomide
  • Drug class: pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor
  • Drug form: oral tablet

As with other drugs, Aubagio can cause side effects. Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects. For a general overview of Aubagio, including details about its uses, see this article.

Aubagio can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Aubagio in clinical trials:

* For more information on this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.

Mild side effects can occur with Aubagio use. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Aubagio’s medication guide.

Mild side effects that have been reported with Aubagio include:

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Aubagio and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

* For more information on this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.

Aubagio may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Aubagio’s medication guide.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Aubagio, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms include:

* For more information on this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.
Aubagio has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.

Aubagio may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

Do Aubagio’s side effects include weight loss?

No. Aubagio’s side effects in clinical trials didn’t include weight loss.

Weight loss could be a sign of liver damage, which is a rare but serious side effect of Aubagio. Liver damage could cause changes in your appetite, which can lead to unintentional weight loss.

If you’re concerned about your weight, or if you notice changes in your weight, talk with your doctor. They can help determine possible causes of your weight changes. If your weight changes are related to Aubagio, they may have you stop taking the drug. They can also recommend ways to maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.

Can progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) be a side effect of Aubagio?

It’s not likely. PML wasn’t reported as side effect in people taking Aubagio in clinical trials. PML is a life-threatening infection of your central nervous system.

Other drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis may cause PML as a side effect. These drugs include:

If you have additional questions about PML, or side effects of your treatment plan, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How long do Aubagio’s side effects last?

As with other medications, Aubagio can cause certain side effects. These are usually temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But Aubagio can also cause some long-term side effects, including:

If you have additional questions about how long Aubagio’s side effects last, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more about some of the side effects that Aubagio may cause.

Hair loss

Hair loss was one of the most common side effects reported by people taking Aubagio in clinical studies. In most cases, this side effect was temporary.

What you can do

Hair loss caused by Aubagio typically goes away on its own. But if you have hair loss that bothers you or doesn’t go away, talk with your doctor. They may offer a treatment for this side effect. Or they may have you stop taking Aubagio and suggest a different treatment.

Severe skin reactions

Rarely, severe skin reactions were reported by people taking Aubagio in clinical studies. These skin reactions included:

Symptoms of severe skin reactions can include:

  • mouth blisters or sores
  • skin rash
  • redness or darkening of skin
  • peeling skin
  • fever

What you can do

Contact your doctor or get medical help immediately if you have symptoms of a severe skin reaction. Although rare, these can be life-threatening.

If you have a severe skin reaction while taking Aubagio, you’ll need to stop taking the medication. Your doctor will likely give you treatments to get Aubagio out of your body quickly. They’ll also recommend a different treatment for your multiple sclerosis (MS).

Risk of fetal harm

Aubagio has a boxed warning about risk of fetal harm. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Studies have shown that Aubagio may harm a fetus if taken during pregnancy. The drug should not be taken during pregnancy.

What you can do

Do not take Aubagio if you’re pregnant. If you could become pregnant, you should use birth control while taking Aubagio. If you stop taking Aubagio, you’ll need to continue taking birth control until blood tests show that your blood levels of Aubagio become low.

If you become pregnant while taking Aubagio or soon after stopping the drug, contact your doctor immediately. The drug can stay in your body for up to 2 years. But there are treatments for getting the drug out of your body quickly, which should be done right away if you become pregnant while taking Aubagio.

Severe liver damage

Aubagio has a boxed warning about risk of severe liver damage. This was rarely reported by people taking Aubagio in clinical studies. In extreme cases, liver damage can be life-threatening or fatal.

You may be at higher risk for severe liver damage caused by Aubagio if you:

Symptoms of liver damage can include:

What you can do

Before prescribing Aubagio, your doctor will order blood tests to check your liver function. For your first 6 months of treatment, you’ll need to have these tests once per month.

If any of your test results are abnormal or if you have symptoms of liver damage, your doctor may have you stop taking Aubagio. If they determine Aubagio was the likely cause, they’ll have you permanently stop the medication, and can recommend other treatments for your MS.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Aubagio can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • rash
  • itching
  • skin that’s peeling or flushed (temporarily warm, red, or darker in color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
  • swollen lymph glands, also called lymph nodes
  • severe muscle pain

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Aubagio. But if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Below are important warnings and precautions to consider before you begin treatment with Aubagio.

Boxed warnings

This drug has boxed warnings about risk of fetal harm if taken during pregnancy and severe liver damage. These are serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see the “Side effect specifics” section above.

Other precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Aubagio. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The conditions and factors to consider include:

Diabetes. Rarely, Aubagio can cause peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling in your feet or hands). People with diabetes may be at higher risk for this serious side effect. If you have diabetes, your doctor can help determine if Aubagio is safe for you to take.

Breathing problems. Although it’s not common, Aubagio can cause breathing problems. People who already have a breathing problem, such as interstitial lung disease, may be at increased risk for this side effect. Make sure to talk with your doctor about whether Aubagio treatment is safe for you.

High blood pressure. Aubagio may rarely cause increases in blood pressure as a side effect. These increases are mild in most people. But if you already have high blood pressure, it may not be safe for you to take Aubagio. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment before you begin taking Aubagio.

Allergic reaction. You shouldn’t take Aubagio if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to Aubagio or any of its ingredients. Talk with your doctor about which other treatments are better choices for you.

Alcohol use with Aubagio

Alcohol isn’t known to interact with Aubagio. But, alcohol may increase your risk for liver damage as a side effect of Aubagio. This is because alcohol can also cause liver damage. Keep in mind that Aubagio has a boxed warning for severe liver damage. For more information, see “Serious liver damage” in the “Side effect specifics” section above.

Alcohol can also increase your risk for other side effects of Aubagio, including nausea.

Talk with your doctor about how much, if any, alcohol is safe for you to drink while you’re taking Aubagio.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Aubagio

Aubagio should not be taken during pregnancy. Contact your doctor right away if you do become pregnant while taking Aubagio. For more information, see “Risk of fetal harm” in the “Side effect specifics” section above.

You shouldn’t breastfeed while taking Aubagio. It’s possible that the drug could cause side effects in a breastfed child. Talk with your doctor about safe feeding options for your child if you’re taking Aubagio.

Aubagio can cause side effects that are mild or serious. Most of the mild side effects tend to go away on their own with time. But some side effects may require treatment.

If you’d like to learn more about Aubagio, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.

Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some research on your own. These articles might help:

  • More information on Aubagio. For details on other aspects of Aubagio, refer to this article.
  • A look at multiple sclerosis (MS). For details on MS, see our MS hub as well as this list of related articles.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.