Methotrexate acts as a double-edged knife. On one hand, it can produce the energy and important components of a cell, on the other hand it can also very effectively destroy and block the metabolism of cells. This antifolate drug has a variety of uses in treating those diseases, which are caused due to rapid cell growth like cancer and psoriasis. Since, it has immune suppressive effects it is very effective in treating skin diseases like dermatitis and eczema. Like all other medicines that have a definite schedule for its intake, methotrexate also has strict time schedule. It should be taken weekly rather than daily or it can result in serious side effects. Even changing the schedule can lead to side effects. Also, take care that you are not taking any other medications at that moment as this can interfere with the drug. More than its effectiveness the side effects of methotrexate should be a cause for concern because if it is unmonitored it can cause considerable damage in a short span of time. To know more read the article below on the side effects of methotrexate.
Harmful Effects Of Methotrexate
Gastrointestinal Side Effects
- Loss of appetite
- Ulcers in the mouth
Side Effects During Pregnancy
- Can cause birth defects
- If methotrexate is taken in the first three months of pregnancy it can lead to stillbirth or miscarriage.
Side Effects In Males
- Has an adverse effect on the sperm.
Side Effects On Blood
- Can cause anemia due to the deficiency in the folic acid.
- Can lead to the reduction of white cell count (leucopaenia) and so there is a huge risk of infection.
- It also results in low platelet count, which causes bruising and bleeding.
- It should always be taken when the blood count is normal.
Side Effects On The Liver
- Since, methotrexate is stored by the liver; the level of the liver enzyme transaminase may rise for a few days. However, this will return to normal in safe doses.
- When it is used in long-term therapies lasting for two years or more, it can result in fibrosis or cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.
- Patients suffering from other liver diseases like viral hepatitis, and alcoholism are more likely to suffer from scarring of the liver on long-term use of methotrexate.
Side Effects On The Lungs
- Its effect on the lungs is minimal.
- The most common side effects are fever, dry and hacking cough, and shortness of breath.
Cutaneous Side Effects
- The side effect on the skin is also minimal.
- The skin becomes photosensitive, that is, it can cause sunburn of the skin. This condition is quite rare though.
- Overdose of methotrexate can cause ulcers in the mouth, lips, and skin.
- Larger doses, especially during cancer treatments, can cause hair loss.
- There is a high risk of methotrexate causing skin cancer if taken in heavy doses for a couple of years.
Side Effects On The Central Nervous Systems
- The most common side effects are blurred vision, speech impairment including dysarthria and aphasia, transient blindness, headaches, drowsiness, paresis, convulsions, and hemiparesis.
- There are also instances of mood alteration like depression, subtle cognitive dysfunction, leukoencephalopathy, encephalopathy, and unusual cranial sensations.