Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
What is methotrexate?
Methotrexate (brand name: Rheumatrex) is a medicine that makes your immune system less active. Methotrexate is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other diseases that are associated with an immune system that is too active. Methotrexate can help people with these problems. But because it can cause some serious side effects, it must be used carefully.
How do I take methotrexate?
Methotrexate is usually taken as an oral tablet. Sometimes it is given as an injection (a shot). It is a very strong medicine, so it is important to take it just as the doctor tells you to. NEVER change the amount you take or the time of day you take this medicine. If you forget a dose, talk to your doctor before you take another dose. If you take too much methotrexate, it can cause serious side effects.
What are the most common side effects of methotrexate?
Some common side effects are loss of appetite, nausea (and sometimes vomiting), diarrhea and mouth sores. Be sure to tell your doctor about any side effects you are having.
Call your doctor right away if you:
What else should I remember about taking methotrexate?
It's important to keep every appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will need to watch the medicine's effect on your body. Your doctor will also order blood tests to check your kidneys, liver and blood production.
Don't drink any alcohol, not even beer or wine. Drinking alcohol while you're taking methotrexate can cause liver problems.
Can I take methotrexate if I want to get pregnant or if I am breast feeding?
No. Do not take methotrexate if you are pregnant, if you are trying to get pregnant or if you are breast feeding. Methotrexate can hurt your baby.
You must not get pregnant while taking methotrexate. You must either use birth control (such as birth control pills or a condom plus a spermicidal foam), or not have sex. If your doctor has you stop taking methotrexate, you must continue to use birth control or not have sex for 1 month after your last dose.
I am a man and I want to get my partner pregnant. Can I take methotrexate?
No. Methotrexate goes into your sperm. You must either use birth control or not have sex. You must continue to use birth control or not have sex for 3 months after your last dose.