Methotrexate is a drug which is normally prescribed to rheumatoid arthritis patients. It can help you decrease the pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
RA is an autoimmune disease which appears when the immune system turns against us and starts attacking the body’s tissues, causing chronic inflammation. The disease affects a very large number of the world’s population.
RA can spread through the body, affecting different parts such as the joints, eyes, lungs and other organs including the skin. Unfortunately, the disease can last a lifetime and there isn’t a cure for it at the moment. Despite this there are treatments that can help you ease the pain and help you feel better.
One of the most common drugs used for treating rheumatoid arthritis is Methotrexate. Although it is commonly used to treat RA, this drug has some serious side effects according to the National Institutes of Health’s website MedlinePLUS. Some of the side effects Methotrexate are liver and lung damage, birth defects, decreased bone marrow blood cells, gastrointestinal damage, increased risk of lymphoma, very dangerous skin reactions and decreased immune system activity. The list of side effects keeps on going and this is quite alarming.
According to The Arthritis Foundation, a 2009 review of 21 studies showed that 73% of the patients treated with Methotrexate reported experience at least one of its side effects. Doctors who prescribe this drug to their patients usually recommend taking folic acid alongside in order to decrease its side effects, taking a smaller dose to decrease GI discomfort and avoiding any alcohol consumption in order to protect the liver. The Arthritis Foundation stated that by taking Methotrexate in lower doses for treating rheumatoid arthritis you shouldn’t experience any dangerous side effects.
According to the American College of rheumatology you should take folic acid supplements because Methotrexate can cause your body to lose its folate supply. At the same time you should have routine blood tests every 8 to 12 weeks to make sure you don’t have any side effects. Avoid caffeine as much as possible because it can decrease the effectiveness of Methotrexate. It is recommended that women taking Methotrexate should not become pregnant, or avoid breastfeeding if they are taking the medicine while being pregnant.
Further research is required to see if there any safe way of taking Methotrexate without experiencing any of its side effects. Make sure to talk to your doctor or personal physician before consuming Methotrexate.