Methotrexate may be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, uveitis, psoriasis and other rheumatic diseases.
Low-dose methotrexate has been widely used since the 1980s for the safe and effective treatment of arthritis.
Methotrexate may be considered chemotherapy as it is also used to treat cancer, although using doses 100 times that which is used to treat arthritis (e.g. 1,000-5,000mg intravenous infusion for cancer, rather than the lower doses used for arthritis 10-25mg).
Methotrexate is one of the classic DMARDs (disease-modifying-anti-rheumatic-drugs), in that its usage has been shown to treat the pain and swelling of arthritis and prevent joint damage and future disability.
Methotrexate works very well, and is comparable to many of the newer biologic medications (biologics) used to treat arthritis. Methotrexate acts by preventing cell growth, suppressing the immune system and the inflammation of arthritis.
The anti-inflammatory effect is likely due to methotrexate’s ability to change levels of adenosine, a chemical in the blood.
Methotrexate may be given as a weekly injection or by mouth as tablets or liquid. Tablets are usually 2.5mg, and the injectable form comes in a concentration of 25mg/ml. Dosage is calculated based on the weight of the child. One should take methotrexate on the same day each week.
Overall, children tolerate methotrexate very well, with very few side effects.
This is does not include all possible side effects of methotrexate.
Call your child's doctor with any questions.