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Methotrexate is used in the treatment of ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, testicular cancer., breast cancer, non-hodgkin lymphoma (nhl), blood cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer and urinary bladder cancer.
It is also used in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis (silvery scaly skin rash) and ectopic pregnancy.

How it works

Methotrexate interferes with the growth of DNA and RNA of the cancer cells by substituting their building blocks. It prevents the cancer cells from growing and multiplying.

Common side effects

Nausea, Vomiting, Loss of appetite, Dyspepsia, Abdominal pain, Stomatitis (Inflammation of the mouth), Increased liver enzymes

Available Medicine

  • ₹29 to ₹275
    Ipca Laboratories Ltd
    12 variant(s)
  • ₹49 to ₹249
    Wallace Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd
    5 variant(s)
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    Zydus Cadila
    5 variant(s)
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    Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
    5 variant(s)
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    2 variant(s)
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    4 variant(s)
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    2 variant(s)
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    Biochem Pharmaceutical Industries
    1 variant(s)
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    5 variant(s)

Expert advice

Do not take methotrexate:
  • If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to methotrexate or to any of the other ingredients of this medicines.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • If you have severe kidney or liver problems such as fibrosis, cirrhosis and recent hepatitis.
  • If you are alcoholic.
Methotrexate should not be taken with food, as it may interact and reduce its absorption. Do not drive or use any tools or machines, if you feel dizzy, tired, have a headache or get blurred vision after taking methotrexate. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches). Methotrexate is not recommended in children other than in cancer chemotherapy.Immediately consult  your doctor if you have upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dry cough, shortness of breath, blood in your urine, or little or no urinating.Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using methotrexate, whether you are a man or a woman. Methotrexate use by either parent may cause birth defects.Continue using condoms for at least 90 days after your treatment ends.Women should continue taking effective form of birth control for at least one cycle of ovulation after the treatment ends.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is methotrexate a steroid/ chemotherapy/ disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD)/ non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)?
Methotrexate is not a steroid or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is a chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of different types of cancer and it is also a disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) used in the treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis
Q. Is methotrexate safe for psoriasis?
Methotrexate belongs to a class of drugs known as antimetabolites used to treat severe, uncontrolled psoriasis. Methotrexate is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor
Q. Is methotrexate cell cycle specific?
Yes. Methotrexate's chemotherapeutic effects are cell-cycle specific as it inhibits the DNA synthetic phase, i.e. it inhibits the synthesis of DNA (genetic material) of the cells. Hence in cancer treatment, it kills the cancerous cells and reduces the tumor size
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Q. Is methotrexate safe/ How long can I take methotrexate for?
Methotrexate is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor
Q. Is methotrexate a narcotic/ biologic drug?
No. Methotrexate is not a narcotic drug/ biologic drug
Q. Can I take methotrexate with antibiotics (e.g. amoxicillin, Bactrim)/ ibuprofen/ prednisone/ naproxen/ aspirin/ paracetamol?
No. Methotrexate interacts with antibiotics (e.g. amoxicillin, Bactrim), ibuprofen, prednisone, naproxen, aspirin, paracetamol. Always consult your physician for the change of dose regimen or an alternative drug of choice that may strictly be required
Q. Can I take methotrexate with a cold?
Always consult your doctor regarding its use if you have any symptoms of infection such as cold
Q. Does methotrexate cause cancer?
Methotrexate belongs to a class of drugs known as antimetabolites. It is used for the treatment of wide range of cancer and tumors. However it may increase the risk of secondary malignancies such as melanoma and other cancers
Q. Does methotrexate cause weight gain/ weight loss/ fatigue/ diarrhea/ acne/ mood swings/ nausea/ infertility?
Methotrexate may cause side effects such as fatigue, diarrhea, acne, mood swings, nausea, and infertility. But it has no known effect on weight gain/ weight loss
Q. Does methotrexate work and what does methotrexate treat?
Methotrexate belongs to a class of drugs known as antimetabolites. Methotrexate is used for the treatment of wide range of cancers or tumors including acute leukemias (a type of blood cancer), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (a type of cancer of immune system cells that help the body fight infections), soft-tissue (fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues of the body) and osteogenic sarcomas (bone cancer), and solid tumors (cancers) of the breast, lung, head and neck, bladder, cervical, ovarian, choriocarcinoma and testicular carcinoma. It is also used to treat severe, uncontrolled psoriasis (skin condition where scaly patches were formed due to fast growing cells) and rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in hands and feet) only if these have not responded to other frontline treatments.

Content on this page was last updated on 11 March, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)