methotrexate, Rheumatrex, Trexall

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Get a Grip on Rheumatoid Arthritis

GENERIC NAME: methotrexate

BRAND NAMES: Otrexup, Rasuvo

DISCONTINUED BRANDS: Rheumatrex, Trexall

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Methotrexate is classified as an antimetabolite drug which means it is capable of blocking the metabolism of cells. (Metabolism consists of the production and destruction of important components of the cell as well as the production of energy for use by the cell.) As a result of this effect, it has been found helpful in treating certain diseases associated with abnormally rapid cell growth, such as cancer of the breast and psoriasis. Recently, methotrexate has been shown to be effective in inducing miscarriage, for example in patients with ectopic pregnancy. This effect of methotrexate is attributed to its action of killing rapidly growing cells such as those of the placenta. It also has been found very helpful in treating rheumatoid arthritis, although its mechanism of action in this illness is not known. It seems to work, in part, by altering immunity which may play a role in causing rheumatoid arthritis. The FDA approved methotrexate in December 1953.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Methotrexate is used for cancer treatment at higher doses than for other uses and is often administered intravenously or intramuscularly. Methotrexate is used to treat psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease, as well as the arthritis that occurs in 10 percent of these patients (psoriatic arthritis). It also is used to treat active rheumatoid arthritis in adults and children and other rheumatic diseases, including polymyositis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Methotrexate has been used to induce miscarriage in patients with ectopic pregnancies.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2015

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