Methotrexate is a drug primarily given to patients with certain cancers, more severe cases of psoriasis, and for rheumatoid arthritis. This medication is often prescribed as a last resort, when other medications have failed to produce results.
How it Works
Methotrexate is considered a chemotherapy agent and an immune system suppressant. This medicine can work to slow the progression of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis by reducing inflammation. It assists in chemotherapy by interfering with the production of cancer cells. It has been effectively used to treat cancers such as breast cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, lymphoma, and several others.
This medication is generally prescribed as a chemotherapy agent for patients with cancer, and it is given in high doses that can cause severe side effects. It can also be used to effectively treat other conditions like skin disorders and arthritis, but these conditions are treated with much lower doses, which is safer. There are other less common uses for this drug.
Methotrexate can be administered orally or by injection. When taken orally, the drug is only taken weekly to prevent negative effects. As a routine, blood count, creatinine, and liver function are monitored. Precise dosage quantity, frequency, and method of administration will depend on the condition and its severity. A doctor will advise or administer the drug. It is dangerous to take this drug in higher than advised doses.
There are several possible side effects that may occur if you have been prescribed this drug. Some of the minor side effect will not likely need medical attention. These include:
Temporary hair loss
Nausea and/or vomiting
Rash or itching on skin
Boils on skin
It is important to keep your physician informed about any and all side effects that may occur. Contact a medical facility at once if any of the following serious side effects present:
Blood in urine or stools
Black and tar-like stools
Reddening of skin
Swelling of feet or lower limbs
There may be other side effects not listed here.
It is not advised for certain patients to take this drug, so always disclose a full medical history and any history of substance use. In particular, patients who have alcoholism, liver disease, or liver cirrhosis should not be taking methotrexate. Do not take this drug if you have a bone marrow disorder or a blood cell disorder like leukopenia or anemia. You should not use methotrexate if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. If you have any of these conditions and are being treated for cancer, your doctor may still prescribe methotrexate.
It is best to make sure that you take only the prescribed doses on time. If you miss a dose or suspect that you have taken too much, contact a doctor immediately. This medication can make your skin more sensitive, so patients are advised to avoid exposure to the sun, especially if the treatment is for psoriasis. Patients are also advised not to drink alcohol while using methotrexate.