Can Methotrexate Cause Growths on Your Wrist?

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical 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.

Ask the experts

My husband has been taking Methotrexate as prescribed by his rheumatologist. However, he is getting abnormal growth/tumors in his hands and wrists accompanied by weakness and tingling. What could this be related to?

Doctor's response

Methotrexate is commonly used to treat inflammatory forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, in the hands and wrists. The swelling that occurs in the joints of the hands and wrists is referred to as synovitis. Synovitis actually is due to thickening of the tissue that lines the joint and increased production of fluid by the lining. It is precisely this lining tissue that is attacked by the immune system in rheumatoid arthritis.

Sometimes swelling in the wrist can irritate the nerve that passes through a confined space in the wrist. When the nerve is irritated it causes tingling in the fingers and weakness. This condition is called carpal tunnel syndrome.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Use of methotrexate in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis"

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Reviewed on 7/21/2017