After my disease continued to worsen while on both hydroxychloroquine and naproxen, my rheumy decided to put me on methotrexate. I am currently taking 6 pills once a week.
Methotrexate is an antimetabolite commonly used for the treatment of breast, skin, head, and neck cancer. It is a form of chemotherapy that stops the growth of cancer cells, skin cells, and decreases the immune system. By decreasing this activity, it helps to slow the progress of ra by delaying joint destruction. Usually used at a lower dose for ra, it is considered a DMARD ( an immunosupressive drug) and a SAARD (slow acting antirheumatic drug).
My reaction: When I was first put on methotrexate, I found no problems with it. I began taking it over summer where I lived at home, worked a part time job, and had much time for relaxation. However, after moving away to live in the dorms in a city about 200 miles away, I have definitely noticed a change. With a full class schedule, a now part time job, and campus activities, taking methotrexate is dreaded, but I know that it helps.
The Cons: SIDE EFFECTS. When I take this drug, it really wipes me of energy, leaving me exhausted for class the following day. Along with this, I am always extremely naseus (sometimes to the point where I get sick). However, since I have started taking the folic acid, these side effects have drastically decreased. I am still very fatigued the next day, but my nausea is definitely decreasing. If you are put on methotrexate, I strongly suggest that you take folic acid, and take the medication on a weekend night, leaving yourself plenty of time to rest the next day.
The Pros: My ra has gotten tremendously better. About a year ago, I could hardly get out of bed, and was often unable to participate in sports. Since I have been on methotrexate, I can now easily do tasks that were difficult for me then! (however kneeling and running are still out of the question :( . I am able to go to the gym and exercise on a daily basis, and I recently just finished a kickboxing class in which I had NO pain! Methotrexate definitely does help the joints, but the side effects kill.
Overall, try it! With the Folic Acid of course.
I am now able to participate in many activities that I definitely couldn't without it.