Why am I prescribed methotrexate?
Methotrexate is used in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthropathy, vasculitis and inflammatory muscle disease. Methotrexate is a powerful drug and it is important that you follow some guidelines to make the treatment as safe as possible. The effects of methotrexate will not be immediate – it may take 4 to 12 weeks before you start to feel better.
How do I take methotrexate?
Methotrexate comes as 2.5mg tablets. The dose of methotrexate varies from 5mg-20mg ONCE WEEKLY depending on your doctor’s advice. Your doctor will tell you how to increase the dose as it depends on the response of your disease to the drug.
What are the possible side effects?
It is very important while on methotrexate that your blood is monitored 2 weekly until you are on a stable dose, then monthly or 2-monthly. If you fail to do this, serious side-effects can develop. The blood results should be entered on your monitoring booklet and you should bring this booklet with you when you come to the clinic.
You should report any side-effects to your doctor without delay.
|Common side-effects||Unusual side-effects
(Stop your methotrexate and
see your doctor)
|– Nausea, vomiting
– Mouth ulcers
– Nose bleeds
Why am I prescribed folic acid together with methotrexate?
Folic acid is thought to reduce mouth ulcers which may occur as a side effect of methotrexate.
Folic acid is a vitamin and you will be prescribed one tablet a day apart from the day you take methotrexate. You do not need to take a special diet, but should eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Can I take alcohol while on methotrexate?
It is not advisable to take alcohol while you are on methotrexate.
What do I do when I am unwell?
While you are taking methotrexate you are more prone to certain infections, and it is important that you seek medical advice promptly if you fall ill – your doctor may want to start some treatment or check your blood. It is important to avoid dehydration; make sure you drink plenty of fluid if you are unwell.
Can I get pregnant while on methotrexate?
If you are planning a family, please discuss this with your doctor. YOU MUST NOT BECOME PREGNANT while you are taking methotrexate. If there is any risk of pregnancy, discuss this with your doctor.
Can I take other medication along with methotrexate?
If any doctor prescribes a new drug, remind him/her that you are taking methotrexate so that they can check if it will interfere with your methotrexate therapy. In particular, you should NOT receive BACTRIM (CO-TRIMOXAZOLE) or TRIMETHOPRIM.
REMEMBER – YOU TAKE METHOTREXATE EACH WEEK, NOT EVERY DAY!!