Methotrexate and Psoriatic Arthritis

Taking Methotrexate for Psoriatic Arthritis

Methotrexate can be taken by mouth or by injection. Although it usually takes three to six weeks to begin working, it appears to be highly effective, resulting in rapid improvement of symptoms.
In general, it produces more favorable long-term responses compared with sulfasalazine, gold sodium thiomalate, or hydroxychloroquine. Unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), methotrexate may actually slow down the progression of the disease.
For psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis, methotrexate is usually taken once a week, either as a single dose or split up into three doses taken every 12 hours (for three times). Similar dosing regimens when used to treat psoriatic rheumatoid arthritis are typical.
Side effects can include:
  • Abdominal (stomach) discomfort
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Mouth sores
  • Painful urination
  • Sore throat
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
Taking folic acid daily or leucovorin weekly can decrease the risk of certain methotrexate side effects. Even with folic acid or leucovorin use, however, serious side effects are possible.
Your healthcare provider must monitor you closely, particularly if you have an abnormal blood count, liver or lung disease, alcoholism, immune system deficiency, or an active infection. Methotrexate must not be taken during pregnancy because it may cause birth defects and miscarriages.

Is This Medication Right for You?

Methotrexate is a powerful but potentially dangerous medication. It is important to have a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider about the potential risks and benefits in your particular situation before taking it. You must commit to frequent and sometimes invasive monitoring. Nonetheless, it is an important and often relatively affordable treatment option that may be right for certain carefully selected individuals.
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