Methotrexate For RA

Methotrexate for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Common Side Effects

Methotrexate is one of the most common forms of treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis and is arguably the most important medicine used to treat RA today. It is the staple of RA treatment since it is effective at reducing disease activity for a large percentage of patients and most people with RA will go on this drug at some point or another.

Because of it is prescribed so frequently it is all too easy to forget that this is a serious toxic chemical.

If you’re like me, you probably hate this drug.

It took me years to work out how to get off all RA drugs. But I was determined, because my experience on Methotrexate was awful. After 3 weeks I genuinely started to get some relief from 10mg/week. It helped me by reducing pain approximately 70% for the first 6 – 12 months.
However, after 2 years on that drug I was up to 25 mg/week and I was taking folic acid the day before and the day after to try to keep my liver together.

But it wasn’t just my liver that was falling apart. I was falling apart emotionally, physically and mentally. I was so tired from the drug that it was a huge effort just to consider getting up off the couch to get a glass of water. I was borderline depressed (despite the personality of a german shepherd for the rest of my life prior!) and although I was alive, I was not really living.

So, that is probably why the most common question I now get asked is ‘How can I get off methotrexate?’. I show you the steps to doing that below, and in more detail in my free email training course., but first let’s do a quick recap on Methotrexate so that you do not lose sight of what you are dealing with and why you want to get off it – fast.

  • Methotrexate’s brand names include Methoblastin, Trexall and Rheumatrex. It is called a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) and attmepts to decrease pain and swelling associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. In doing so, Methotrexate can prevent damage to joints and therefore reduce the likelihood of disability. Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis may improve within 3 weeks of starting treatment (which is precisely how long it took for me) but it may take 12 weeks or even 6 months of treatment for full benefit to be realized. Some patients do not see any benefit at all from Methotrexate.
  • Although Methotrexate was only approved for RA treatment in the US in 1988, it had already been used to treat cancer and psoriasis.
  • Typically, Methotrexate is taken once day a week for RA. The starting dose for most adults with rheumatoid arthritis is 7.5 to 10 mg and this dose can be increased to 20 to 25 mg each week. Around 25mg/week tends to be towards the upper oral limit according the to Rheumatologists that I have consulted with. Methotrexate is also available in an injectable form which can be self-injected by the patient.
  • It still remains unclear exactly how methotrexate decreases arthritis activity. It is known that Methotrexate interferes with certain enzymes which play a role in immune system function. Methotrexate prohibits the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase, thereby affecting the production of a type of folic acid, which is required for actively growing cells.
  • Folic acid supplementation is required if you take methotrexate. Doctors vary in their approach with how this is prescribed. Sometimes the Folic acid is taken daily, in other cases it is taken in a larger dose 8 hours before and 8 hours after the weekly methotrexate pill.
  • Methotrexate can cause an abnormal functioning of the liver. Therefore, it is very important to have blood tests on a regular basis to test for liver functionality. At a minimum, doctors will ask for blood tests every 8 to 12 weeks. However, there is a greater benefit to the patient if the tests are done as frequently as every month to allow not just the liver health to be reviewed, but the inflammation levels of CRP and ESR as well to view the overall disease activity. (Part of my strategy in seeking my RA cure was to be copied on the monthly blood test results and using the CRP and ESR to guide me as to how my holistic methods were performing. I strongly recommend you get your blood tested monthly for this benefit alone!)
  • Avoid alcohol whilst taking Methotrexate since alcohol increases the risk of liver damage significantly.
  • Methotrexate should not be taken if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Methotrexate can cause birth defects and/or complications during pregnancy. This was one of the main reasons that I pursued a natural rheumatoid arthritis remedy. My wife Melissa and I were told we could not try for children until I stopped taking this drug, but I was on 25mg/week (at maximum dose). Do not fall pregnant whilst one of you or your partner is on methotrexate and for at least 3 months after you stop taking the drug. My wife and I waited 2 years just to be sure! This stuff is not to be messed with! We now have our first little one on the way and we couldn’t be happier!
  • Besides the aforementioned side-effects on the liver, Methotrexate may also cause fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Personally, I found the fatigue on Methotrexate to be relentless – constantly tired 24/7 even if I was getting 8 hours of painful sleep. As with all drugs, side effects are usually dose-dependent.
  • Some medications may alter methotrexate function. So, tell your doctor of all the medications you take (both prescription and over the counter). Also, NSAIDs, though often prescribed together with methotrexate, can affect the level of drug activity.
  • If it works at first, it doesn’t mean that it will work forever. Treatment for RA often needs to be changed because the body can build resistance to a treatment. Some people find success with methotrexate at first and then later find that it stops working. Then, alternative drugs are tested or even a combination therapy is proposed where more than one drug is used at the same time.
Whilst on Methotrexate it is still possible to heal your body through natural methods. This was something that I discovered myself, by remaining on Methotrexate whilst I implemented my holistic experiments until I was able to eliminate my inflammation. So the great news about Methotrexate – is that unlike NSAID’s and antibiotic drugs, it doesn’t seem to interfere too heavily (if at all) on the delicate environment of your intestines (which is where the real cause of Rheumatoid Arhthritis really lies). This means that your determined efforts to get well naturally whilst on Methotrexate will not be undermined by the drug side effects. Finally, some good news huh?! To reverse RA symptoms see my Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet and Natural Treatment or follow my free pain-reversal email training course.

The Paddison Program is designed to work whilst taking your medications that have been prescribed by your doctor. With time, and as results permit, then the strategy for getting off medication for RA will be as follows:

  1. Follow the The Paddison Program to gradually reduce the inflammation and swelling in the body until your blood test readings of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and ‘Sed Rate (ESR) come into the target range (See Appendix C in the Paddison Program eBook for information on blood readings)
  2. When favorable blood readings occur, and with the authorization of your Rheumatologist, move to a slightly lower dose of medication
  3. Maintain The Paddison Program natural therapy in the ‘consolidation’ phase (Phase 4) on your reduced medication until blood tests results of CRP and ESR again indicate normal
  4. Repeat step ‘2’ until you are no longer on medication and are holding quality blood test levels, drug-free!

You will see that all of the above can be achieved without the overuse of supplements and complicated meals.

Following the protocol exactly as it is outlined in the Program, I was able to stop taking all of my medication and return my inflammation levels to normal in a 3-month period. It is my upmost wish for you to do the same and if you get started on the Paddison Program I’ll tell you exactly how to go about it, step by step.

Blood tests previously on Methotrexate - for Blog Post

What have been your experiences with Methotrexate? Leave me a comment below.

 

“The best doctor gives the least medicines” – Benjamin Franklin

Clint Paddison

Clint Paddison is a previous sufferer of chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis and author of The Paddison Program for RA which treats Rheumatoid Arthritis naturally.

NOTE – This article is not medical advice. It only expresses the views of the author’s personal experience. For all changes to your diet and lifestyle first consult a licensed physician.

 

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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)

  • Tracie

    Hello! This is great information. Thank you! I was diagnosed with RA three years ago at the age of 26. In that time I have tried to control my symptoms with diet and supplements. I also had a baby during that time which allowed me 9ish months of no symptoms. Two years later, I am at the point where I must do something . Two months ago I started a low dose of prednisone and also take motrin for the pain. Many are encouraging me to look into the common RA drugs, like methotrexate. Hearing this information and personal stories encourage me to stay away and not jump on that train. I am interested in your program and how it compared to my current dairy, gluten, sugar and red meat free diet I currently try to follow.

    • http://www.rheumatoidarthritisprogram.com/ Clint Paddison

      Hi Tracie! Thanks for posting your comment and I’m pleased to hear that you’re researching alternative approaches to RA away from the toxic meds.

      My program is focussed on healing the underlying cause of RA – check out this post here
      http://www.rheumatoidarthritisprogram.com/the-underlying-cause-of-ra/

      Part of this is a dietary approach which is unique to gut-restoration and the other part is the external approach which focusses on unique joint-restoration exercises. I found that even with a ‘good’ diet nothing seemed to stop the inflammation since all sorts of junk gets through the gut wall and stirs up the immune process. Thus, it’s not just eating ‘well’ but eating to heal. The Advanced Package product contains nearly 4 hours of training and 3 ebooks and comes with my personal customer support. It is designed to get maximum results in minimal time and I can virtually guarantee improvements fast. So that is worth considering. Thanks again, Clint

      • Brenda

        If I found a cure that could potentially help millions I wouldn’t charge any money for them to find out about it. That would really stick it to big pharma. JMO

Disclaimer

Do not take this information as personal medical advice. Do not change your diet if you are ill or on medication without the advice of a qualified health care provider (your physician, for example).

About the Author

After recovering from chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis, Clint Paddison now teaches other RA sufferers how to heal naturally so they can get on a path towards wellness