What Is Methotrexate And Which Are The Methotrexate Side Effects

Methotrexate Side EffectsMethotrexate is a drug with antifolate and antimetabolite effect. It’s recommended for the treatment of various autoimmune diseases like, Crohn’s disease, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus.

Methotrexate is also used in chemotherapy for the treatment of various cancers like lymphoma, osteosarcoma, leukemia, breast cancer, neck cancers, lung cancer and bladder cancer, choriocarcinoma and hydatidiform mole.

Lastly, methotrexate is also used for rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and to induce medical abortions, or to treat ectopic pregnancies (pregnancy complications in which the embryo is implanted and develops outside the uterus).

First of all, since this drug is used to induce medical abortion, this may occur as a side effect, if the drug is prescribed for other conditions. So, methotrexate is not indicated for pregnancy.

One of the methotrexate side effects is the lowering of the blood level of white cells (leukopenia) which results in a depressed immune system. This predisposes the patient to various infections. In fact, fever (as a sign of infection), acute pneumonitis, and various infections can occur while a patient undergoes a treatment with this drug.

Other methotrexate side effects can be: nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, gastro-intestinal ulceration, diarrhea. One of the frequent side effects associated with the intake of methotrexate is ulcerative stomatitis, which is the inflammation and ulceration of the mouth tissue, including floor or roof of the mouth, gums, lips, tongue, throat.

Various other rare methotrexate side effects can occur, especially in case of overdosage, like dermatitis, hair loss, liver or kidney lesions, pulmonary fibrosis (in case of long-term treatment with high dosage).

Top of the contraindications list for methotrexate should be pregnancy and conceiving. This drug should not be administered under any circumstance during pregnancy, and conceiving should only begun after 3 months from the cessation of the treatment. Also, it’s not recommended during the nursing period since it passes into the mother’s milk.

Due to the rather high incidence of methotrexate side effects of gastrointestinal nature, this drug is not recommended to patients with any ulcerous diseases of the digestive tract. Also, since it diminishes the level of white blood cells, it’s not recommended in case of any infection, or in case of various blood conditions like leukopenia or thrombocytopenia.

Since there is a low chance of liver and kidney damage during treatment with methotrexate, even if these can occur due to long-term and high dosage treatment, this drug is not recommended to patients with severe renal and hepatic insufficiency.

The administration of methotrexate is not recommended during treatment with drugs like penicillins and probenecid, because they inhibit the elimination of methotrexate, increasing the risk of toxicity. Also, methotrexate must not be administered in conjunction with carbamazepine and phenobarbital because this may lead to seizures, due to methotrexate neurotoxicity.

Alcohol consumption should also be avoided by patients that undergo a treatment with methotrexate, because it may also leat to unwanted adverse effects.

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