Often Methotrexate is considered to be a half way drug which the patients take before progression to the more challenging forms of medication. It is part of the DMARD drugs and is particularly effective with rheumatoid arthritis. The medication is in the form of a tablet that is taken once a week. You can crush the tablets if you find this method more palatable. The tablets normally weigh about 2.5 mg. Sometimes the doctor might decide that the dosage might be increased to the 10 mg. You will then have to take it less often. The color coding on the medication ensures that there is no chance of making a mistake. There are instances where the medication will be taken by injection near the thigh or buttock. It has now been licensed to be used intravenously. This happens where the patient is unable to tolerate standard Methotrexate tablets.
Using Methotrexate responsibly
It is imperative that you use Methotrexate responsibly. That means that you need to look out for any side effects that might indicate that the body is not taking the medication well. You need to watch the dosage to ensure that it does not exceed the maximum requirements. You will begin to see a change in your condition within twelve weeks of your first tablet or injection. Some patients have reacted to the treatment through nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, mouth ulcers and skin rashes. It is imperative that all these symptoms are discussed with your physician. They might be able to give you practical tips on how you might handle the condition. At the same time they might stop the treatment if it becomes clear that the body is not reacting well to the treatment program. Methotrexate has been known to affect your blood count.
In some cases the use of Methotrexate has lead to respiratory problems as well as inflammation of the lung. Other patients report that they develop shingles or chicken pox. This is a classic example that the immune system is being compromised. Patients might require antiviral treatment in order to combat the development of these conditions. You are advised to take folic acid tablets if you are on Methotrexate. These are essentially good sources of vitamins. It is important that you discuss the options with your doctor. They will know your medical history and might make some important recommendations that will improve your prognosis. In extreme cases you might end up with liver problems.
Clinical management of arthritis using Methotrexate
The possibility of drug reactions with Methotrexate is limited. This is not a painkiller and therefore you might need some painkillers to deal with the practical signs of the disease. Make sure that you tell your doctor about any medication that you are taking. It will help them to make the right decisions. This is often a type of medication that is used before the condition escalates. At the higher levels of arthritis you might be taken off Methotrexate and then put on another form of medication depending on your condition at the time.