Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I have been feeling so miserable that I moved my rheumy appointment up a month. I will write about how the actual appointment went in another post, but I ended up leaving the office with a prescription for methotrexate.

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 am going to take my first dose on Saturday evening. I know that sounds like a bummer of a weekend, but it will work out best for me. I will take it before I go to bed because they say you can sleep through the worst of the side effects and it will be far enough away from the time I take my other medications that they will not interact. Then I have Sunday off, so I can lounge in bed all day if I feel like it. I will also have my very own nurse, otherwise known as my husband.

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.

1 comment:

* Valerie * said...

It sounds like you are being careful. That's a good thing. Dave's aunt almost died from complications from her rheumatoid arthritis medication a year and a half ago; you really have to be vigilant with your own body. (Not saying this will happen to you - she is 65 and had colon issues.)