METHOTREXATE (METH oh TREX ate) is a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer including breast cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma. This medicine can also be used to treat psoriasis and certain kinds of arthritis.
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
Make sure you know why you are taking this medicine and how often you should take it. If this medicine is used for a condition that is not cancer, like arthritis or psoriasis, it should be taken weekly, NOT daily. Taking this medicine more often than directed can cause serious side effects, even death.
Talk to your healthcare provider about safe handling and disposal of this medicine. You may need to take special precautions.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
breathing problems or shortness of breath
dry, nonproductive cough
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.
redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or trouble passing urine
signs and symptoms of bleeding such as bloody or black, tarry stools; red or dark-brown urine; spitting up blood or brown material that looks like coffee grounds; red spots on the skin; unusual bruising or bleeding from the eye, gums, or nose
signs and symptoms of kidney injury like trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
signs and symptoms of liver injury like dark yellow or brown urine; general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms; light-colored stools; loss of appetite; nausea; right upper belly pain; unusually weak or tired; yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
This medicine may interact with the following medication:
aspirin and aspirin-like medicines including salicylates
certain antibiotics like penicillins, tetracycline, and chloramphenicol
live virus vaccines
NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
other cytotoxic agents
retinoids such as isotretinoin and tretinoin
steroid medicines like prednisone or cortisone
sulfonamides like sulfasalazine and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole
If you miss a dose, talk with your doctor or health care professional. Do not take double or extra doses.
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.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
fluid in the stomach area or lungs
if you often drink alcohol
infection or immune system problems
kidney disease or on hemodialysis
low blood counts, like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts
an unusual or allergic reaction to methotrexate, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Avoid alcoholic drinks.
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.
You may need blood work done while you are taking this medicine.
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.
Check with your doctor or health care professional if you get an attack of severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, or if you sweat a lot. The loss of too much body fluid can make it dangerous for you to take this medicine.
Talk to your doctor about your risk of cancer. You may be more at risk for certain types of cancers if you take this medicine.
Both men and women must use effective birth control with this medicine. Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine or until at least 1 normal menstrual cycle has occurred after stopping it. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. Men should not father a child while taking this medicine and for 3 months after stopping it. 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.