Video Q & A:

DMARDs

Question:

What is methotrexate?

Expert:   Linda Russell, MD, Hospital for Special Surgery »

Methotrexate is the most commonly prescribed rheumatoid arthritis medication-- maybe you're on it right now. But why is it so popular? Watch this to find out.

Transcript: Methotrexate is usually prescribed before other DMARDs. It’s one of the most EFFECTIVE RA medications, but it was FIRST developed to treat cancer. In 1988, the Food & Drug Administration APPROVED it to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It’s usually prescribed in pill form. The patient will start to feel the effects within 3 to 6 weeks, with full benefits HOPEFULLY arriving at around the 3-month mark. The side effects of methotrexate are relatively minimal. Nausea, diarrhea, chest pain, chills, nausea and fatigue are common, while the most serious complications such as liver damage and lung disease are quite rare. And, methotrexate, like ALL DMARDs, can make you more susceptible to infection because it tamps down your immune system. Rheumatologists agree that its benefits outweigh its risk, but your doctor will alert you to any complications that might arise based on YOUR specific medical history. More »

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