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    Information about Methotrexate

    Methotrexate uses

    Methotrexate is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

    How methotrexate works

    Methotrexate is an immunosuppressant. In rheumatoid arthritis, it works by decreasing the activity of body's immune system. This decreases swelling, reduces pain and stiffness, and improves function. In psoriasis, it works by slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells.

    Common side effects of methotrexate

    Nausea, Vomiting, Loss of appetite, Dyspepsia, Abdominal pain, Increased liver enzymes, Stomatitis (Inflammation of the mouth)
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Radhika Dua
    MDS, BDS
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Shilpa Garcha
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    23 May 2019 | 11:41 AM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

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    Expert advice for Methotrexate

    • Methotrexate helps decrease joint swelling, pain, and stiffness. 
    • It may also be used for the treatment of severe psoriasis.
    • Take it once a week, on the same day every week.
    • Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated while taking this  medication.
    • Always take folic acid as advised by your doctor. This will help lessen the side effects of this medicine.
    • It may take 6 to 8 weeks for Methotrexate to work. Keep taking the medication as prescribed.
    • Your doctor may get regular blood test done to monitor your kidney function, liver function and level of blood cells in your blood.
    • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medicine as it may increase the risk of side effects.
    • It can be harmful to an unborn baby. Avoid pregnancy for at least 6 months after your last dose.

    Frequently asked questions for Methotrexate


    Q. Can Methotrexate cause mouth ulcers?

    Yes, in fact a sore mouth and mouth ulcers are sometimes side effects of Methotrexate therapy. Taking folic acid along with this medicine may help in reducing the ulcers. Ask your doctor if the dose can be reduced as dose reduction may further help in reducing the ulcers.

    Q. Why do I have to take folic acid with Methotrexate?

    Folic acid is required to make new cells in the body and Methotrexate decreases the folic acid levels in the body. By taking folic acid some of the common side effects, like mouth ulcers, hair loss, nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, fatigue, anemia and liver problems can be reduced.

    Q. Why do I need to take regular blood tests while taking Methotrexate?

    Regular blood tests will help your doctor to check your response to Methotrexate and monitor you for side effects. You will need to regularly check your liver function and your blood counts -white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Your doctor may also order additional tests depending on the results.

    Q. Can Methotrexate use make me more prone to infections?

    Methotrexate may decrease the activity of your immune system. As a result, you may develop serious infections. There have been rare reports of serious lung infections with Methotrexate use. If you have an active infection, Methotrexate should be used with extreme caution.

    Q. Can Methotrexate affect fertility?

    Yes, it may affect fertility in both males and females. There may be a decrease in sperm count in males and menstrual disturbances in females. These effects are reversible and disappear once the therapy is discontinued.

    Q. What to do if I am planning to become pregnant and my husband is taking Methotrexate?

    You should avoid pregnancy if your husband is taking Methotrexate. Also, avoid pregnancy for a minimum of 3 months after the therapy as it can lead to serious fetal abnormalities.

    Content on this page was last updated on 23 May, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)