Methotrexate is a drug used to treat
cancer as well as several different
rheumatic diseases. It is usually
used for lupus when nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs such as
ibuprofen (Motrin®) or naproxen
(Naprosyn®) or antimalarials such as
hydroxychloroquine sulfate (Plaquenil)
don't control the symptoms. Sometimes
doctors prescribe it to control lupus
during flares or times of increased
disease activity. It works by suppressing
the immune system, which is overactive
Methotrexate works slowly, so it may
take a few weeks before you notice
its benefits. Although methotrexate is
generally safe at the doses prescribed
for lupus, it is still a powerful drug. It is
important that you understand exactly
how and when to use this drug, and
what the potential side effects are. You
will need to work closely with your
doctor and nurse and undergo regular
lab tests to make sure that the amount
of the drug you are taking gives you
the benefits you need with as few side
effects as possible.
The brand name of your Methotrexate is
The strength or dose of the Methotrexate ordered for you is ___________.
Take the Methotrexate ________________
time(s) per day.
The best time(s) to take your
Take methotrexate pills with milk or
food. Methotrexate injections should be
given just beneath the skin on the thigh
or abdomen unless your doctor advises
Possible Side Effects
These include diarrhea, dizziness,
hair loss, mouth ulcers, nausea and
vomiting, and rashes or itching skin.
Tell your nurse or doctor right away if
you have any side effects.
Do not take more than the
recommended dose. Before
starting methotrexate, let
your doctor know if you drink
alcohol or if you are taking other
medications, including antibiotics,
medications, or drugs that
suppress the immune system.
Avoid exposure to infections. Stay
away from crowds and people
known to have colds, the flu,
or other infections. Report any
signs of infection to your doctor
Do not have immunizations while
taking this drug without first
checking with your doctor.
Do not take this drug if you
suspect you are pregnant.
Methotrexate can be dangerous to
unborn babies. You must use an
effective birth control method while
you are taking this medication.
You should consider pregnancy
only after treatment has been
stopped and your doctor says you
are healthy enough to become
Source: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Dept of Health and Human Services