Friday, October 21, 2011

Helping A Friend

A friend, with RA and recently diagnosed with a complicated muscular autoimmune disorder, called me in a panic yesterday because she was just prescribed Methotrexate.  When the doctor explained the medication to her, all she heard were the words "a chemo therapy drug" and she freaked out.

About 16 years ago when I was first prescribed this somewhat scary medication I freaked out too-- Big time.  I'm not talking a little freaked, I was over the top freaked.  At that time I actually had to sign a 12 page legal disclaimer from my doctor to even get the drug and that scared the daylights out of me! 

That was pre-Internet and researching the medication on my own brought detailed medical explanations with little in layman's terms for me to understand.  So I talked to the folks at Lupus International* who brought me together with patients actually taking the drug.  These kind people talked me through, based on their experience, what I could expect and helped me feel better about my decision to start the treatment.

But that was a long time ago and frankly I can't remember much about my original side effects other than I know, without a doubt, my stress level over the legal disclaimer requirement and what side effects might/could/perhaps/possibly happen, pushed me over the edge.  

In the beginning, each weekly dose of Methotrexate brought me far more stress than was actually necessary.  Call me a drama queen but I imagined the worst possible scenario every time I swallowed my little yellow pills.  The anxiety surrounding my medication day made me literally sick to my stomach even though my body was responding positively to the treatment.   Not smart and eventually I figured that out.

Now I've been on the Methotrexate for so long, probably a combined ten of the last sixteen years or so and I find it to be a very useful drug in managing my lupus.  But I can't really give good advice to my newly diagnosed friend as to what to expect as she ramps up her dosage and starts on this journey.

Do you have any experience with Methotrexate that you would share please?

Thanks for your help.  Until next time...
Joanna J. aka Lemon-Aid

Photo Credit: © Scanrail -
*Under a different name at the time


  1. I was on it, had issues then taken off. We waited 30 days to try again and again, serious issues. Each place on my body where I had previously had surgery, open wounds started to form both times when going on the metho and my flares went out of control. It would be safe to say it was an allergy not worth persuing. I know many people who take without incident I'm just not one of them.

  2. I was on it for almost a year a few years ago. I, too, have a lot of anxiety on taking new medication mostly because I have such a low tolerance and I usually get the side effects. I did get some nausea, not too bad and the fatigue you get those couple of days after your dose but I did feel better the rest of the week... until the migraines because that was a side effect that I couldn't handle anymore so I convinced the doctor to take me off. I was switched back to Prednisone and now tapering off to find out what's next from here.

  3. I pray your abscense means your having fun!
    Hugs.. thinking of you.