Methotrexate is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat people with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis and polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis who are intolerant of or have had an inadequate response to first-line therapy. Methotrexate can reduce joint pain and swelling and allow for a reduction in the dosage of other drugs, such as prednisone. Methotrexate is sold under the brand names Otrexup, Rasuvo, Reditrex, Rheumatrex, and Trexall.
Methotrexate is an immunomodulator, a drug that modulates the immune system. Methotrexate is also referred to as a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) or a slow-acting antirheumatic drug (SAARD). It is believed to work by blocking the production of white blood cells called lymphocytes that can attack the joints.
How do I take it?
Prescribing information states that methotrexate is taken as an oral solution or given as a subcutaneous injection (under the skin) by a health care professional. Subcutaneous methotrexate is usually given in a health clinic or doctor’s office. It should be administered according to the frequency specified by a physician.
If your doctor determines it is appropriate, you may self-inject at home. Methotrexate comes in a prefilled, single-use syringe. Your doctor will show you how to administer it.
The FDA-approved label for methotrexate lists common side effects including nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion, mouth sores, rash, the common cold, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, bronchitis, low blood cell counts, hair loss, dizziness, sensitivity to sunlight, and skin sores.
Rare but serious side effects listed for methotrexate include low sperm cell count, menstrual dysfunction, liver damage, kidney damage, and fetal harm or death.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips, or tongue.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Methotrexate — Drugs.com
Methotrexate: Managing Side Effects — Arthritis Foundation