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What are the Different Methotrexate Effects?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 December 2017
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Methotrexate is a medication that may be sold by the brand name Rheumatrex®. It has extremely positive results for the conditions for which it is prescribed, but it also has a host of minor side effects and some very serious ones, that in some cases may cause fatality. Since methotrexate effects are potentially dangerous, it is only prescribed under certain circumstances and when the medication is deemed to have greater potential benefit than risk to the person taking it.

Positive methotrexate effects include that it can dramatically improve conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, and some forms of cancer. It helps to retard the growth of cells in the former three conditions that may fuel inflammation and make these diseases worse. With cancer it may cause cancer cells to slow in growth. It may also cause spontaneous abortion, and is sometimes used for this purpose, especially if ectopic pregnancy is present and surgery is not a good option.

Methotrexate effects are numerous and some can be serious. It’s important that people let their doctors know right away when side effects occur. Many people have significant nausea and/or vomiting, and they develop mouth ulcers. Other methotrexate effects are sore throat or diarrhea, black stool (which indicates bleeding), significant pain in bones or joints, changes to the color of the skin, passage of darker-colored urine, and swollen glands. Additional side effects that can be extremely grave include having sudden chest pain, breathing difficulties, or a cough, and experiencing sudden changes to vision, mental disorientation, arrhythmias (changes in heart beat), or seizure.

Some people may have allergic reactions to this medication. Swollen lips, tongue, or mouth, and difficulty swallowing, and the presence of rash, hives, and/or overall itching could indicate this. Allergy is a threat to life and requires emergency medical attention.

While methotrexate effects treat certain illnesses, there are some people who cannot take the medication due to other conditions. Those who are pregnant, plan to get pregnant, or are planning to get someone pregnant need to not take this medicine for at least three months and possibly longer prior to trying for pregnancy. The drug is linked to causing fetal death and several fetal defects, and the mother or father may pass on birth defects to a newly forming child. Breastfeeding women must also avoid this medication because babies will thus be exposed to it with potentially dangerous results.

Other people who may experience very adverse methotrexate effects include those who have kidney dysfunction or disease, ulcers, or many viral infections. The drug could be tried once people have recovered fully from a virus or from a shot that exposes people to a live virus. Taking other medications may also be problematic and people should submit to their doctor a full list of current prescriptions and over the counter meds or herbals they take.

When medications have such a heavy profile of side effects, it’s often scary to consider taking them. It should be stated that knowing about these helps people weigh risk and benefits and bring up concerns with any prescribing physician. It is well known that despite the potentially negative methotrexate effects, it is a live saving drug under certain circumstances or helps to arrest the body-damaging course of very serious diseases.

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