Patient Story: Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

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Find the Right Medication and Manage Side Effects

Jane, who was just diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis by her new rheumatology doctor, has been started on oral weekly methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) tablets. The doctor had a discussion with her about potential side effects of methotrexate, including hair thinning, mouth sores, rash, bone marrow injury, low blood counts, and liver injury. It was explained that the side effects of methotrexate can be reduced by taking supplemental folic acid. In addition, she was told that regular blood testing is mandatory while taking methotrexate to monitor for signs of bone marrow or liver toxicity. Moreover, the doctor asked about potential pregnancy (because methotrexate cannot be taken during pregnancy) and was informed that this was not possible as she had had tubal ligations after her second child three years ago. Finally, she was told that methotrexate would take some weeks to months to attain maximum benefits. She was the perfect candidate for methotrexate, a "gold standard" in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/28/2014