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Medications > Methotrexate > Methotrexate – pictopamphlet

Methotrexate [Meth-o-TREX-ate]

How to use this Medication

What is it

Methotrexate is a medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. While taking this medicine it is important to have your blood tests done and see your doctor on a regular basis.

Take it only once a week

Take your methotrexate only once a week. Choose the same day of the week to be your “Methotrexate Day”.

Tablets or Injection

Methotrexate comes in tablets or in a liquid that can be injected. The normal dose is 7.5 to 25 mg per week. Store your methotrexate in a safe, cool, dry place.

Be Patient

It will take 6 to 8 weeks for the methotrexate to work. It is important for you to keep taking the medicine.

What you Need to do

Avoid Alcohol

Drinking alcohol while taking methotrexate could harm your liver. It is best to avoid alcohol.

Don’t get Pregnant or Breastfeed

Methotrexate can harm an unborn child. If you are having sex or thinking of having sex and could get pregnant, it is important to use birth control. We recommend the birth control pill.

Stop if you have and Infection

Methotrexate can make it harder for you to fight infections. It is best to stop taking methotrexate if you have a fever or think you have an infection. Phone your doctor for advice.

Get Regular Blood Tests

Have your blood tested every 4-8 weeks. This is important to make sure methotrexate isn’t harming your liver or blood counts.

Side Effects and Important Things to Know

Nausea and Feeling Unwell

The most common side effect of methotrexate is nausea, feeling unwell, or feeling tired for 24 to 48 hours after the dose. This usually gets better over time as you get used to the medication.

Rare Reaction in the Lungs

Methotrexate rarely causes a serious lung problem. Call your doctor and STOP taking your methotrexate if you have:

  • New shortness of breath (while resting) but don’t have a heavy cold (runny nose and fever)
  • A new dry cough for several weeks

Drug Interactions

You must not take sulfa antibiotics, such as co-trimoxazole (Septra) or trimethoprim, while taking methotrexate. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medication.

When Should I call my Doctor

Please Call if you Need to Stop

  • If you feel sick and want to stop
  • If you are concerned about any side effects
  • If you want to or have already stopped the medication for any reason

Other Reasons to Call your Doctor

Cough or Difficulty Breathing

Fever or think you have an infection

Severe Mouth Sores

Pregnant or Planning Pregnancy

If you are having surgery

Other Important Information

Stopping Methotrexate

You can simply stop taking methotrexate. You do not need to wean off it. Please call your doctor if you stop the medication.

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help to reduce side-effects of methotrexate. Your doctor will tell you how to take folic acid.