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What is methotrexateand when can it be used?

Methotrexate is a medication that is officially approved forthe treatment of certain autoimmune diseases and cancer, but also for thetreatment of psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Since it is the very strong, it hasto be prescribed by the doctor, and it can be found in the form of a tablet orinjection. It works by blocking the enzyme that is important for the ability ofcells to repair and replicate, which is particularly helpful in cases ofcancers. It is also believed that it affects the immune system, though it hasnot been scientifically confirmed.

What are the possibleside effects of methotrexate?

Generally, the use of this medication is suggested only whenall the other options have been exhausted, and when less toxic medications havefailed in showing positive results. Before prescribing methotrexate, the doctorhas to take into consideration several factors, because some of the sideeffects that it may cause are very serious. Besides the patient’s weight, ageand the condition that is about to be treated, what should also be taken intoconsideration is existence of some other condition, or the use of some medications,because serious contraindications are possible in such situations. For example,if the patient suffers from anemia, or any other form of low blood cell counts,liver disease, weakened immune system, allergy of any kind or if he or she isabout to undergo the radiation treatment, it is necessary to inform the doctorabout it in advance, because the use of this medication may not be safe.

Also,medications that should not be taken in combination with methotrexate includeantibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as certain medicationsthat belong to the group of phenytoin, salicylate, sulfasalazine, theophylline.

Side effects related to this medication that are life-threateninginclude severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration, signs of anemia and lowwhite blood cells, signs of liver damage such liver fibrosis or cirrhosis, andsigns of allergic reaction. Less serious side effects are gingivitis, lowerblood pressure, headaches, acne and drowsiness, but it is also possible thatthe person will face with hair loss, blood clots, temporary blindness,impotence and even temporary infertility. However, since all of them are temporaryonly, they are not considered to be as serious as those mentioned in thebeginning.

One more thing that should be mentioned refers to the use ofthis medication in pregnancy and while lactating. It is highly recommended toavoid the use of methotrexate under such circumstances, because seriouscomplications in pregnancy are possible, and it is not safe for a child incases of women who are breastfeeding.

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