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What condition does Methotrexate treat?

Methotrexate is a medication used for the treatment of:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile polyarticular idiopathic arthritis
  • Severe forms of psoriatic arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Severe psoriasis

This medication may as well be used in a high dose to treat various types of cancer such as:

  • Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Breast, lung, bladder, and cervical cancer

Methotrexate belongs to the class of medications called antimetabolites. This drug is in a sterile, preservative-free, and unbuffered solution in a pre-filled syringe. This is for a single subcutaneous injection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this medication.

How does Methotrexate work?

In rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis

Methotrexate works by slowing down the making of cells in the immune system that cause the inflammation of the joints. In arthritis, this drug is referred to as a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). It suppresses the disease process. This medication is not a painkiller and this can take up to 12 weeks to start working.

In Crohn’s disease

Methotrexate works by slowing down the production of cells in the immune system. It is the cells that cause inflammation in the bowel. This can take up to 12 weeks before it takes an effect. 

In psoriasis

This drug works by slowing down the excessive production of skin cells that causes skin scaling. It also slows down the raised plaques in this condition. This can take up to 12 weeks before you start to notice the difference.

In cancers

Methotrexate is a form of chemotherapy that works by preventing cancer cells from dividing and multiplying. It kills cancer cells and stops cancer from growing. This drug can also affect normal and healthy cells. It is particularly those that divide rapidly such as the cells lining the mouth and gut. It may also be in the bone marrow where blood cells are made.

How to use Methotrexate?

The recommended dosage will depend on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. You must take this medication exactly as it is prescribed. Do not stop taking this medication without the consent of your doctor. It may cause another complication or may worsen your current condition.

Check it visually for particles or discoloration before using this product. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Clean the injection with rubbing alcohol before injecting each dose. This is given by injection usually once a week. The drug is given into a layer of fat between the skin and muscle.

What are the possible side effects of Methotrexate?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain

What are the precautions in taking Methotrexate?

  • While having this treatment, limit alcoholic beverages.
  • You should not share this or any of your medications with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
  • This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or do any activities that need alertness.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding women consult your doctor first.
  • Before using this medication, let your doctor know if you have a medical history of lung or kidney disease, suppressed immune system, and liver disease.
  • This should not be used in people who are allergic to it.