I knew methotrexate would be the next step if plaquenil was not doing the job, but I was not really prepared to walk out with the prescription. It's a serious drug and quite a bit of what I have read about methotrexate is truly scary stuff. The phamplet the doctor gave did little to settle my nerves either, especially when it began with "used to treat cancer" and "forced abortion for ectopic pregnancies."
Instead of going online and reading all the drug descriptions and side effects, the first thing I did was log onto RA Chicks. I figured that reading women's first hand experiences with methotrexate would be the best place to start. The number one thing I took away from the forums was that taking it is a question of whether the benefits outweigh the side effects.
Then I went to Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, which has a large section specifically on methotrexate. It was probably the best resource I have found to prepare me for taking methotrexate and definitely helped to calm me down.
After all my reading, I decided the best way to approach taking methotrexate is preparation. Obviously I cannot control how I will react to the drug, although they say those who expect the worst side effects are more likely to suffer from them, but I can try to make things as comfortable and easy as possible for myself.
So this is what I have done or am going to do before my first dose (a lot of these came from RA Warrior):
- Prescription for folic acid to take daily
- I got my first flu shot.
- Omeprazole magnesium (generic Prilosec) in case of heartburn, etc.
- Pink bismuth tablets (generic Pepto-Bismol) in case of nausea.
- Peppermint candy in case of metallic taste and nausea.
- Crackers and other comforting foods for an upset stomach.
- Cleaning - I have been trying to get on top of my cleaning so that I do not have to worry about it as much next week if I do not feel well. Swiffer and disinfectant wipes have become my new best friends.
- I have also been getting a little crazy about preventing infections, which I have read is important to do when on methotrexate. I loaded up on antibacterial hand gel and even bought one of those touchless soap dispensers.
I realize that my plans probably sound a little much, but since I started making them my anxiety level has gone down a little. And if I do happen to have a bad day on Sunday, then I will have everything I will need to take care of myself.