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Methotrexate is used to treat certain types of cancer or to control severe psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis that has not responded to other treatments. It may also be used to control juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate belongs to a class of drugs known as antimetabolites. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells and suppressing the immune system.

Early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with more aggressive therapy such as methotrexate helps to reduce further joint damage and to preserve joint function.

How to use Methotrexate (Anti-Rheumatic) Tablet

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking methotrexate and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Methotrexate is a strong medication. The dosage and how often you take this medication are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. There are many different dosing schedules for this medication (especially for cancer treatment). Taking this medication the wrong way may cause serious side effects, including death. Therefore, it is very important that you follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor.

Why it's used

Methotrexate self-injectable solution is used to treat psoriasis. It’s also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, including polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

How it works

Methotrexate belongs to a class of drugs called antimetabolites, or folic acid antagonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Methotrexate works differently for each condition it treats. It isn’t exactly known how this drug works to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a disease of the immune system. It’s believed that methotrexate weakens your immune system, which may help reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness from RA.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

  • Black, tarry stools
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • bloody vomit
  • diarrhea
  • joint pain
  • reddening of the skin
  • sores in the mouth or lips
  • stomach pain
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs


The increased risk of liver damage with methotrexate is significant for people who drink alcohol. Ideally, you should not drink alcohol if you take methotrexate. At most, with your doctor's permission, you should have no more than two drinks per month.

Methotrexate should not be taken by people with known chronic liver or kidney disease. A rheumatologist may decide to prescribe methotrexate to people with mild liver or mild kidney disease—but with vigilance and an abundance of caution.

Methotrexate may need to be stopped prior to a surgical procedure, temporarily, while you are healing. This is due to a possible effect on the immune system and potential increased risk of infection with its use.