Methotrexate (rheumatrex, trexall) or M T X, previously known as amethopterin, is an antifolate drug, used for the treatment of cancer, ectopic pregnancy, and auto immune disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis. It comes under first line Disease Modifying Anti rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), which is prescribed by most doctors to R A patient. It generally takes 4 to 6 weeks to start affecting or working for R A patient. It is very effective for pain, inflammation, and some sorts of tender joints and is taken once or twice in a week but that also depends on the severity of the disease.
How does it works
This DMARD helps in producing and maintaining D N A (the genetic cells in a person body). It also helps in reducing swelling, pain, and by decreasing the progression of this chronic disease. Doctors often prescribe this first line DMARD for rheumatoid arthritis because it is known for its fast relief to some symptoms. Some other DMARDs like etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab, etc used in combination with Methotrexate showed some improved results. Combination of some therapy with Methotrexate can reduce the intake of these drugs and may reduce the fatal side effects that may occur with these drugs.
Side effects of Methotrexate
Structural wise Methotrexate is similar to dihydrofolate and it completely absorbed by the intestine of a patient, and gets metabolized by the kidney. It enters the different cells like folic acid by providing the cells to effectiveness. Some other side effects that may be caused due to this medicine are nausea, mouth sores, hair loss diarrhea, fatigue, etc. Supplement dosage of folic acid may be consumed by the patient in order to reduce some of these above side effects, but must be taken if doctor advises to do so.
Infections due to it
This medicine is known to decrease the activity of the immune system of a patient, and on other hand it may increase the risk of bacterial infection, though it happens in rare cases. Some symptom of infection may show fever, skin infection, sore throat, burning sensation during urination, pain in sinus, shortness of breath, yellow sputum in cough, etc. Low red blood cells (R B C) count is an uncommon cause, if medication is stopped. People suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis and are on this medication, has high risk to get cancer of the lymph gland commonly known as lymphoma. The actual reason of this side effect in not yet revealed.
Patients of Rheumatoid Arthritis are advised not to go through this medication during their pregnancy as it may harm mother as well as the unborn baby. It should be stopped 3 to 4 months before pregnancy or its planning. It is also advised not to take it during breast feeding. One must not consume alcohol while he or she is on this Methotrexate. It is also advised not to go through any surgery while on this medication or may have consulted a surgeon strictly before going to any sort of surgery.