methotrexate - oral, Rheumatrex
GENERIC NAME: METHOTREXATE - ORAL (METH-oh-TREX-ate)
BRAND NAME(S): Rheumatrex
WARNING: Methotrexate has rarely caused serious (sometimes fatal) side effects. Therefore, this medication should be used only to treat cancer or severe diseases caused by an overactive immune system (e.g., psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis).
Methotrexate has caused birth defects and death in unborn babies. Women must avoid becoming pregnant while taking this medication. Pregnant women who have psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis must not use methotrexate. (See also Precautions)
Methotrexate (usually at high dosages) has rarely caused severe (sometimes fatal) bone marrow suppression (decreasing your body's ability to fight infections) and stomach/intestinal disease (e.g., bleeding) when used at the same time as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as indomethacin, ketoprofen). Therefore, NSAIDs should not be used with high-dose methotrexate. Caution is advised if you also take aspirin. NSAIDs/aspirin may be used with low-dose methotrexate such as for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis if directed by your doctor. If you are using low-dose aspirin (81-325 milligrams per day) for heart attack or stroke prevention, continue to take it unless directed otherwise. Consult your doctor regarding safe use of these drugs (e.g., close monitoring by your doctor, maintaining stable doses of NSAIDs).
In rare instances, this drug may also cause liver problems when it is used for long periods of time. If you are using methotrexate long-term, a liver biopsy is usually recommended.
Methotrexate use has rarely resulted in serious (sometimes fatal) side effects, such as lung problems, lung infections (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia), skin reactions, diarrhea, and mouth sores (ulcerative stomatitis). (See also Side Effects.)
Lumps (tumors/abnormal growths) may very infrequently appear during methotrexate use. If this occurs, the drug must be stopped and treatment may be needed. Consult your doctor immediately if new lumps/growths occur.
When used to treat tumors, methotrexate sometimes causes side effects due to the rapid destruction of cancer cells (tumor lysis syndrome). Tell your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as irregular heartbeat or muscle weakness.
Although rare, this medication when used with radiation treatment may increase the risk of tissue and bone damage. Discuss the risks and benefits of your treatment plan with your doctor.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Back to Medications Index