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Zidovudine

Zidovudine is used in pregnantwomen to prevent passing the...

Methotrexate

Methotrexate

Methotrexate is a medication used for the treatment of:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

This condition is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. It is caused when the immune system is not working properly. Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain and swelling in the wrist and small joints of the hand and feet. Treatment for this condition can stop joint pain and swelling.

  • Juvenile polyarticular idiopathic arthritis

This is most common in childrenunder the age of 16. This can cause persistent joint pain, swelling, andstiffness. Some children may experience symptoms for only a few months, whileothers have symptoms for the rest of their lives.

  • Severe forms of psoriatic arthritis

This is a form of arthritis thataffects some people who have psoriasis. Most people develop psoriasis first andare later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. The joint problems can sometimesbegin before skin lesions appear.

  • Crohn’s disease

This type of condition is inflammatory bowel disease. It causes inflammation of your digestive tract which can lead to abdominal pain, fatigue, and severe diarrhea. It may also cause malnutrition and weight loss. Inflammation caused by this disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.

  • Severe psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skincondition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. It causes cells to buildup rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and redpatches that are itchy and sometimes painful. This is a chronic disease thatoften comes and goes. With this medication, you can manage symptoms such as:

  • Small scalingspots
  • Dry andcracked skin that may bleed
  • Burning,itching, or soreness
  • Swollen andstiff joints
  • Red patchesof skin covered with thick and silvery scales

This medication may as well beused in a high dose to treat various types of cancer such as:

  • Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Chori0ocarcinoma
  • Breast, lung, bladder, and cervical cancer

Methotrexate belongs to the classof medications called antimetabolites. This drug is in a sterile,preservative-free, and unbuffered solution in a pre-filled syringe. This is fora single subcutaneous injection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasalready approved this medication.

How does Methotrexate work?

In rheumatoid arthritis andpsoriatic arthritis:

Methotrexate works by slowing down the making of cells in the immune system that cause the inflammation of the joints. In arthritis, this drug is referred to as a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). It suppresses the disease process. This medication is not a painkiller and this can take up to 12 weeks to start working.

In Crohn’s disease:

Methotrexate works by slowingdown the production of cells in the immune system. It is the cells that cause inflammationin the bowel. This can take up to 12 weeks before it takes an effect.  

In psoriasis:

This drug works by slowing downthe excessive production of skin cells that causes skin scaling. It also slowsdown the raised plaques in this condition. This can take up to 12 weeks before youstart to notice the difference.

In cancers:

Methotrexate is a form ofchemotherapy that works by preventing cancer cells from dividing and multiplying.It kills cancer cells and stops cancer from growing. This drug can also affectnormal and healthy cells. It is particularly those that divide rapidly such asthe cells lining the mouth and gut. It may also be in the bone marrow whereblood cells are made.

How to use Methotrexate?

The recommended dosage will depend on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. You must take this medication exactly as it is prescribed. You should not take more or less or more often than it is given by your doctor. For the best benefit from this product, take it regularly. Do not stop taking this medication without the consent of your doctor. It may cause another complication or may worsen your current condition.

Check it visually for particlesor discoloration before using this product. If either is present, do not usethe liquid. Clean the injection with rubbing alcohol before injecting eachdose. This is given by injection usually once a week. The drug is given into alayer of fat between the skin and muscle. Remember to take it at the same timeand in the same way every day.

What are the side effects of Methotrexate?

Common side effects:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Mouth sores
  • Indigestion
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Rash
  • Liver function test abnormalities
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Low platelet count
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Joint pain

Call your doctor if you have serious side effects such as:

  • Unusual bleeding
  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Skin reactions (redness, rash, swelling, peelingskin, and blisters)
  • Infections (sore throat, cough, mouth sores, andchills)

Get emergency help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction:

  • Hives or itching
  • Trouble or difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your lips, face, throat, or tongue

Warnings and Precautions

  • While having this treatment, limit alcoholicbeverages.
  • You should not share this or any of yourmedication with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
  • This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do notdrive or do any activities that need alertness.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant,or breastfeeding women consult your doctor first.
  • If you missed a dose, take it as soon as youremember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose andfollow your regular schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the misseddose.
  • Call for medical help if you have any symptoms ofan overdose.
  • Before using this medication, let your doctor knowif you have a medical history of lung or kidney disease, suppressed immunesystem, and liver disease.
  • This should not be used in people who are allergicto it.
  • Keep this drug far from heat and moisture as wellas from the reach of children.