Methotrexate is a cancer drug. Its use in Lupus, however, is as an immunosppressant drug that is also used to hopefully reduce the dosage of steroids (such as Prednisone).
Each person's reaction to Methotrexate is different (just as each persons Lupus is different). Some people have very few side effects, while others may experience more. None of the side effects are a given and all side effects will not affect everyone who is given methotrexate.
* Methotrexate can reduce the production of white blood cells by the bone marrow, making you more prone to infection. If you are having methotrexate as a course of tablets, you may be given them every week for a number of weeks. The reason for the blood tests is that your doctor wants to check your blood cell count. He will monitor the count throughout the course of Methotrexate treatment to make sure that the number of white blood cells does not get too low.
* While having treatment with methotrexate you may become anaemic. This may make you feel tired and breathless
* Your mouth may become sore, or you may notice small ulcers during this treatment. Drinking plenty of fluids and cleaning your teeth regularly and gently with a soft toothbrush can help to reduce the risk of this happening.
* You may notice that your food tastes different. Normal taste will usually come back after the treatment finishes.
* You may develop diarrhea. This can usually be easily controlled with medicine, but let your doctor know if it is severe or if it continues.
* Your skin may darken, due to excess production of pigment.
* in very high doses, it can damage the kidneys (rare in Lupus treatments because the doses are generally small).
* Gritty eyes due to inflammation of the cornea If this occurs it is important that you tell your doctor, who can prescribe soothing eye drops.
* Nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
EVEN LESS COMMON SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE:
* Blurred vision
* Hair loss. This is very rare at low doses (like yours) but often happens when very high doses are given.
* Sensitivity of the skin to sunlight During treatment with methotrexate, and for several months afterwards, you will be more sensitive to the sun and your skin may burn more easily than normal.
* Methotrexate can cause a rash, which may be itchy.
* Changes to lung tissue Tell your doctor if you notice any coughing or breathlessness.
* Your liver may be temporarily affected Methotrexate may cause changes in the way that your liver works, though your liver will return to normal when the treatment is finished.
* Allergic reaction You will be monitored for any signs of an allergic reaction during the treatment. Signs include skin rashes and itching, a high temperature, shivering, redness of the face, a feeling of dizziness, headache, breathlessness, anxiety and a need to pass urine.
I hope that I've answered your questions.
Peace and Blessings