What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Methotrexate Overview

Written by FoundHealth.

(meth oh TREKS ate)

U.S. Brand Names

Rheumatrex®; Trexall™

Canadian Brand Names

Apo-Methotrexate®; ratio-Methotrexate

Mexican Brand Names

Atrexel; Ledertrexate; Medsatrexate; Otaxem; Texate; Trixilem

Pharmacologic Category

Antineoplastic Agent, Antimetabolite (Antifolate); Antirheumatic, Disease Modifying

What key warnings should I know about before taking this medicine?

• Your bone marrow, liver, lung, and kidney function will be followed closely. This medicine may cause severe infections, severe skin reactions, lymphomas, diarrhea, and mouth sores. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about the risks and benefits of methotrexate. There is extensive monitoring that is required while taking this medicine.

• Talk with healthcare provider before taking any pain medicines (eg, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen). Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant and being treated for rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis. The risks and benefits of other uses need to be compared in females of childbearing age.

• Talk with healthcare provider if you are receiving radiation therapy. There may be an increased risk of tissue and bone damage.

• This medicine does not mix well with many medicines. Serious reactions may occur. Check all medicines with healthcare provider.

Reasons not to take this medicine

• If you have an allergy to methotrexate or any other part of this medicine.

• Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other symptoms involved.

• If you have any of the following conditions: Bone marrow disease, severe liver disease, low blood cell count, or poor kidney function.

• If you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

• If you are breast-feeding.

How does it work?

• Methotrexate injures cancer cells causing their death.

• It reduces inflammation.

• It decreases the body's harmful response to diseases affecting the immune system.

How is it best taken?

• Follow directions given by healthcare provider or read the package insert.

• If taking orally, this medicine is usually only taken once a week. Talk with healthcare provider to make sure dose is correct.

• Directions may change depending on blood work results, side effects, and response.

• Take this medicine on an empty stomach. Take 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.

• This medicine may be given by mouth or as a shot into a muscle, vein, or the fatty part of the skin. Rarely, a shot will be given into the spinal fluid.

• Drink plenty of noncaffeine-containing liquid unless told to drink less liquid by healthcare provider.

What do I do if I miss a dose? (does not apply to patients in the hospital)

• Take a missed dose as soon as possible.

• If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule.

• Do not take a double dose or extra doses.

• Do not change dose or stop medicine. Talk with healthcare provider.

What should I monitor?

• Change in condition being treated. Is it better, worse, or about the same?

• Check blood work regularly. Talk with healthcare provider.

• When taking methotrexate for a long time or at high doses, you may need closer monitoring of liver and bone marrow function. Talk with healthcare provider.

• Take good care of your teeth. See a dentist regularly.

• Follow up with healthcare provider.

How should I store this medicine?

• Store at room temperature.

• Protect from light.

• Protect tablets from moisture. Do not store in a bathroom or kitchen.

General statements

• If you have a life-threatening allergy, wear allergy identification at all times.

• Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.

• Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.

• Most medicines can be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.

• Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, natural products, supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, physician assistant).

• Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or in Canada to Health Canada's Canada Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.

• Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter, natural products, or vitamins.

Created: 2005-04-07 16:58:47.0

Modified: 2010-03-09 08:28:59.0

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