Questions about Rheumatoid Arthritis? Get answers from our expert.


Generic Name: auranofin (aw RAN oh fin)
Brand Name: Ridaura

What is auranofin?

Auranofin is a form of gold that reduces some of the effects of the inflammatory process in the body.

Auranofin is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Auranofin is usually given when other medications have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms.

Auranofin will not reverse any cartilage or joint damage that has already occurred in your body.

Auranofin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about auranofin?

You should not use this medication if you have ever had a severe reaction to gold therapy that affected your skin, lungs, bone marrow, blood cells, or your stomach or intestines.

Before taking auranofin, tell your doctor if you have a weak immune system, bone marrow disorder, kidney or liver disease, or inflammatory bowel disease.

Video: Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Doctor Ariel D. Teitel discusses several treatments that can help control the progression of the disease and help to alleviate the swelling and pain.

Auranofin can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis.

Keep using auranofin as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 3 or 4 months of treatment.

Stop taking auranofin and call your doctor at once if you have a skin rash or itching, mouth sores, severe diarrhea, easy bruising or bleeding, blood in your urine or stools, coughing up blood, or unusual weakness, or any signs of infection (fever, chills, flu symptoms).

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking auranofin?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to auranofin, or if you have ever had any of these medical problems caused by using gold therapy:

  • an allergic skin reaction;

  • stomach or intestinal problems;

  • a breathing disorder;

  • a bone marrow disorder; or

  • a severe blood cell disorder.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:

  • a bone marrow disorder or weak immune system;

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease; or

  • inflammatory bowel disease.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether auranofin is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether auranofin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take auranofin?

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water.

Auranofin can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, or unusual weakness.

It may take up to 6 months of using this medicine before your symptoms improve. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 3 or 4 months of treatment.

Store auranofin at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an auranofin overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while taking auranofin?

Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Avoid exposure to sunlight, sunlamps, or tanning beds. Auranofin can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, and a sunburn may result. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Auranofin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking this medication and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • itching or skin rash;

  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;

  • pain or swelling in your gums or tongue, metallic taste in your mouth;

  • severe or ongoing diarrhea;

  • severe nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps;

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding;

  • blood in your urine;

  • weakness or fainting;

  • black, bloody, or tarry stools; or

  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild stomach pain or upset;

  • gas, bloating; or

  • loss of appetite.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Auranofin dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Initial: 3 mg orally once a day for 2 weeks. The goal of therapy is to gradually taper up to a dose of 6 mg orally each day with limited diarrhea.

Maintenance: 6 mg orally each day administered either as a single dose or as 3 mg orally twice a day to decrease the incidence of gastrointestinal side effects.

A therapeutic response to auranofin may not be clinically apparent for 3 to 6 months after initiation of therapy. If, after this time, the response is considered inadequate the dosage may be increased to a maximum of 3 mg orally 3 times a day. If the response remains inadequate after 2 to 3 months at 9 mg/day, an alternative therapy should be considered.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Rheumatoid Arthritis:

>1 to 12 years:
Initial: 0.1 mg/kg/day in 1 to 2 equally divided doses.

>1 to 12 years:
Maintenance: 0.15 mg/kg/day in 1 to 2 equally divided doses, with a maximum dose of 0.2 mg/kg/day administered in a single dose or equally divided doses 12 hours apart.

What other drugs will affect auranofin?

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • gold injections;

  • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil);

  • penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen);

  • phenytoin (Dilantin);

  • high doses of steroid medication (prednisone and others); or

  • drugs that weaken your immune system, such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar), azathioprine, methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), and others.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with auranofin. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about auranofin.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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