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Methotrexate interferes with the growth of certain cells of the body, especially cells that reproduce quickly, such as cancer cells, bone marrow cells, and skin cells.
Methotrexate is used to treat certain types of cancer of the breast, skin, head and neck, or lung. It is also used to treat severe psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Methotrexate is usually given after other medications have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms.
How to take
Take methotrexate exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor.
You must use the correct dose of methotrexate for your condition. Methotrexate is usually taken once or twice per week and not every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to methotrexate: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using methotrexate and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- dry cough, shortness of breath;
- diarrhea, vomiting, white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;
- blood in your urine or stools;
- urinating less than usual or not at all;
- fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
- sore throat and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
- pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, weakness; or
- nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious methotrexate side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting, upset stomach;
- dizziness, tired feeling;
- bleeding of your gums; or
- blurred vision.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
Always read the ingredients before taking this or any other medication to ensure that there are no elements that may elicit an allergic reaction.
Do not take Methotrexate to treat rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis if you have any of the following medical conditions:
kidney disease, liver problems, blood cell disorders, anemia, leukopenia, bone marrow disorder or alcohol abuse.
Do not take Methotrexate if you are breastfeeding.
Before taking this medication, consult your doctor if you have a history of any of the following medical conditions:
kidney disease, liver problems, pneumonia, lung disease, stomach ulcers.
Before taking Methotrexate, inform your doctor if you have any infections or are currently having radiation treatments.
Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or plan on becoming pregnant before taking this medication. Do not take Methotrexate to treat rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis if you are pregnant. Immediately inform your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
Before taking methotrexate, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:
- azathioprine (Imuran);
- chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin);
- hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil, Quineprox);
- retinol, tretinoin (Retin-A), isotretinoin (Accutane);
- steroids (prednisone and others);
- sulfa drugs such as Azulfidine, Bactrim, or Septra;
- phenytoin (Dilantin);
- probenecid (Benemid);
- tetracycline (Brodspec, Panmycin, Sumycin, Tetracap);
- theophylline (Elixophyllin, Slo-Bid, Theobid, Theo-Dur);
- gold treatments such as auranofin (Ridura);
- oral diabetes medications such as acetohexamide (Dymelor), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), glimepiride (Amaryl), or tolbutamide (Orinase);
- a penicillin antibiotic such as amoxicillin (Amoxil, Augmentin, Dispermox, Moxatag), ampicillin (Principen, Unasyn), dicloxacillin (Dycill, Dynapen), or penicillin (Bicillin L-A, PC Pen VK, Pfizerpen), and others;
- medicines that reduce stomach acid, such as esomeprazole (Nexium, Vimovo), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), pantoprazole (Protonix), or rabeprazole (Aciphex);
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), indomethacin (Indocin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), meloxicam (Mobic), piroxicam (Feldene), and others; or
- salicylates such as aspirin, Disalcid, Doan's Pills, Dolobid, Salflex, Tricosal, and others.
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with methotrexate.
If you miss a dosage of Methotrexate, call your doctor for instructions.
Keep medication in a cool, dry place away from heat and moisture. Dispose of any unused medication past the point of expiry. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
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