posted by admin on May 17

Methotrexate (Rheumatrex) has become increasingly popular for rheumatoid arthritis. It is an immune suppressant first developed for cancer chemotherapy. It can also be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Methotrexate has recently begun to be classed as a potential disease-modifying drug for rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate often leads to improvement in symptoms within a month.However, it can cause a host of side effects, including loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, intestinal ulceration and, in some cases, bone marrow suppression and severe liver damage. As with sulfasalazine, patients taking methotrexate must be monitored for white blood cell count during therapy. Other side effects include headache, fatigue, malaise, and inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis).Lung inflammation, one of the most unpredictable and potentially serious side effects of treatment with methotrexate, can occur at relatively low doses. Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, and fever. In addition to lung disease, methotrexate can cause an increased incidence of bronchitis and pneumonia.There is also concern that methotrexate might increase the risk of blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Although the evidence is contradictory, one study concluded that the spontaneous remission of lymphomas in rheumatoid arthritis patients after methotrexate was stopped was reason enough to further investigate the drugs role in development of these cancers.*26/306/5*

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