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METHOTREXATE (METH oh TREX ate) is a chemotherapy drug. This medicine affects cells that are rapidly growing, such as cancer cells and cells in your mouth and stomach. It is used to treat many cancers and other medical conditions. It is used for leukemias, lymphomas, breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancers, and other cancers. This medicine also works on the immune system and is commonly used to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. If used for arthritis or psoriasis, the drug is only given once a week.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
bleeding or blood disorders
HIV-positive or have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
if you frequently drink alcohol-containing drinks
infection or weak immune system
an unusual or allergic reaction to methotrexate, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Take this medicine by mouth. Swallow it with a full glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your doctor or health care professional. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
If you take methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis, the dose is given only once a week. Do not take more frequently.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
If you miss a dose, talk with your doctor or health care professional. Do not take double or extra doses. If you vomit after taking a dose, call your doctor or health care professional for advice.
antibiotics and other medicines for infections
aspirin and aspirin-like medicines including bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
Visit your doctor or health care professional for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks. You will also need a chest X-ray before starting the medicine.
If you take the medicine for rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis, you may not see an improvement in your condition for several weeks.
Do not drink alcohol-containing drinks while taking this medicine. Both alcohol and the medicine may cause damage to your liver.
This medicine may increase your risk of getting an infection. Stay away from people who are sick.
To protect your kidneys, drink water or other fluids as directed while you are taking this medicine.
Both men and women must use effective birth control. Use 2 reliable forms of birth control together. Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should continue to use birth control until after their first normal menstrual cycle after stopping the medicine. Call your doctor right away if you think you or your partner might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine. Men should continue to use birth control for at least 3 months after stopping the medicine.
If you are going to have surgery or dental work, tell your health care professional that you are taking this medicine.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
changes in vision
difficulty breathing or a dry cough
mouth and throat ulcers
redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
skin rash, hives, or itching
symptoms of infection like fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
unusually weak or tired, fainting spells
yellow coloring of skin or eyes
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
loss of appetite
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
METHOTREXATE (METH oh TREX ate) is a chemotherapy drug. This medicine affects cells that are rapidly growing, such as cancer cells and cells in your mouth and stomach. It is used to treat many cancers and other medical conditions. It is used for leukemias, lymphomas, breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancers, and other cancers. This medicine also works on the immune system and is commonly used to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
if you frequently drink alcohol containing drinks
infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
immune system problems
low blood counts, like platelets, red bloods, or white blood cells
recent or ongoing radiation therapy
an unusual or allergic reaction to methotrexate, benzyl alcohol, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
This drug is given as an injection into a muscle or into a vein. It may also be given into the spinal fluid. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.
folic acid in supplements or vitamins
Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks during your treatment to monitor your blood, liver function, and kidney function.
This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.
In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.
Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.
Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.
Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.
Do not treat diarrhea with over the counter products. Contact your doctor if you have diarrhea.
Men and women must use effective birth control while they are taking this medicine. Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women must continue using effective birth control for 1 full menstrual cycle after stopping this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you think that you or your partner might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine. Men must continue effective birth control for 3 months after stopping this medicine.
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
signs of decreased red blood cells - unusually weak or tired, fainting spells, lightheadedness
breathing problems, like a dry cough
confusion, not alert
mouth or throat sores or ulcers
problems with balance, talking, walking
trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
yellowing of the eyes or skin
change in skin color
This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.