Although methotrexate was first used at high doses in cancer (leukemia, and later, a number of other cancers). it is effective at lower doses in rheumatoid arthritis and then in other auto-immune disorders including Crohn's disease. It is now being studied in ulcerative colitis but does not seem to be as effective.

The way methotrexate works against cancer and auto-immune disorders seems to be different, though researchers are still trying to understand the ways it works in the body. One of the ways it works, especially against cancer and leukemia is by interfering with folate metabolism. Folate is very important in creating DNA and RNA, which are used in the genetic codes and translating those codes into action. It is, therefore, necessary for anyone taking methotrexate to also take folic acid (the chemical or synthetic form of folate).

Methotrexate is typically taken once per week, either as a series of pills or as a shot that goes into the muscle or deep into the skin. But the person taking it still has to take a folic acid pill every day (or as a higher dose once a week) to prevent some of the complications.

Methotrexate can have significant side effects.

Subscribe Be the first to know