Methotrexate is used to treat conditions in which “excessive activity” in the body is causing problems.
In cancers, specific cells in the body grow and multiply too quickly. These cells then spread and damage nearby tissues.
Methotrexate is about stopping the growth of cancer cells. This affects the genetic material of the cells, reducing the number of new cells that the body produces.
It is believed that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an excess of activity of the immune system. The immune system normally protects the body against attack by micro-organisms that can cause harm, such as germs.
However, in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system begins to attack its own body as if they were exogenous agents. Although it is not known precisely how methotrexate works in rheumatoid arthritis, it is thought to affect the functioning of the immune system.
In psoriasis, the skin cells in the outer layer of the skin multiply faster than usual. Methotrexate helps in psoriasis by reducing the overproduction of skin cells.
Before taking methotrexate
Before starting to take methotrexate, the doctor must know:
- If you are pregnant or intend to have children in the future.
- If you are breast-feeding.
- If you have an infection.
- If you have a stomach ulcer.
- If you have a gastrointestinal problem or diarrhea.
- If you have any problems with the functioning of your liver or kidneys.
- If you have a blood disorder.
How to take it?
Never Self-medicate. You should always be consulted with a medium or specialist. It would help if you did not take methotrexate every day. The doctor will tell you how many tablets you should take each week – this will be calculated according to the condition, weight, and height.
You must take the correct number of tablets on the same day of the week. Take the pills exactly as your doctor tells you to.
Methotrexate tablets are available in two strengths: 2.5 mg and 10 mg. Swallow the tablets with a glass of water. You can take methotrexate before or after food.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember if it is within two days of when you should have taken it.
If you have missed a dose for more than two days, ask your doctor or clinic to tell you what to do. Never take two doses together to make up for the forgotten dose.
You may be recommended to take folinic acid tablets while being treated with methotrexate. This is to help reduce unwanted side effects. Your doctor will tell you what day (or days) of the week you can take it.
How to get the most out of your treatment?
Ask your doctor if you are not sure why you are taking it, what dose to accept, or what day of the week you should do it.
It would help if you tried to keep your regular appointments with the doctor in charge of your case. This is so that your progress can be controlled.