Methotrexate injection is an antimetabolite injection that is used for the treatment of cancer, and other disorders. The article discusses the pros and cons associated with the use of this drug.
Methotrexate is a drug that falls under the class of drugs known as antimetabolites. Anti-metabolite drugs are capable of blocking the metabolism (production and destruction of important components as well as energy) of the cells. Methotrexate injection is also an antifolate drug that curbs the growth of cancerous cells and prevents them from using folic acid, which is an important nutrient in the cells, to regenerate new genetic material. The injection also prevents the multiplication of these harmful cells.
Apart from being used as a chemotherapy treatment drug, it is also used to cure psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, the shots are also used for medical termination of pregnancy (MTP). The drug is quite effective when it comes to treating ailments like arthritis, pustular psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and scleroderma. The cost of the injection depends on the dose and strength of the medication. The prices may range from approximately USD 24 for a 2 mL vial, up to USD 250 for 20 mL.
The dose for methotrexate must be taken as advised by the doctor to avoid any possible side effects of an overdose. According to the doctors, this injection can be taken either once or twice per week, depending on the ailment. The dosage for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis is lesser than the dose for any type of cancer. Apart from injections, the drug also comes in the form of 2.5 mg tablets. The maximum dose for an adult is approximately 7.5 to 10 mg.
In case of rheumatoid arthritis, a single tablet can be taken per day. A missed dose should not be compensated on the next day, as it may lead to an overdose. Never take more than one dose on the same day, unless prescribed by the physician. Remember to store this medication in a cool, dry place, and away from sunlight. Avoid keeping this drug in places where it can be easily accessible to children.
There are a few side effects of this drug, but its overdose or prolonged use of the drug can lead to multiple organ damage in the body.
- The drug may have adverse effects on the digestive system. Individuals may complain of experiencing acute diarrhea, which is characterized by loose or watery stools. Some individuals may also suffer from stomach ulcers, blisters in the intestine, which may lead to black, tarry stools as a result of internal bleeding. Vomiting-induced nausea, blisters in the mouth and lips, and vomiting of blood are some other side effects of an overdose.
- The use of medication may also lead to thinning of hair, appearance of blisters on the skin, and acne. Other side effects include skin rash, discoloration of the skin, and photo sensitivity.
- Methotrexate treatment may lead to reduction in the blood count, resulting in anemia and formation of lumps in the lymph nodes.
- Individuals on a prolonged dose of this drug are more prone to infections like pneumonia, nocardiosis, and sepsis.
- Other side effects include muscle and joint pain, or mild tiredness and headache that might range from mild to severe.
The injection must not be taken by pregnant women or those planning to conceive, since this may harm the fetus, thereby leading to miscarriage or increased risk of congenital defects. Always consult a health care practitioner before taking any injection, to minimize the risks associated with use of the drug.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.