I've never used Methotrexate or the injections. However, I just wanted to provide some information about the drug and why it is used for Lupus patients. This is so that you have a better understanding of your treatment with Methotrexate.
I'm sure that someone will be along shortly to share their experiences of the drug with you.
The major challenge for doctors managing patients with lupus erythematosus is to treat the active phase of the disease, without allowing the treatment itself to cause long-term damage. This intent has led to a major change in treatment approach, with the goal of limiting corticosteroid (eg. Prednisone) exposure, if possible. As a result, doctors are now less reluctant to turn to immunosuppressive drugs such azathioprine (Imuran) or cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). Treatment for active systemic lupus erythematosus differs, depending on the organ systems involved and the severity of the disease.
Current treatment will often often include a combination of drugs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) remain the mainstay of treatment in Lupus patients, especially those who have mild polyarthralgias or polyarthritis. Antimalarial agents, especially hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), are frequently used in the treatment of polyarthritis in Lupus (as well as for other symptoms, especially those involving the skin) . Hydroxychloroquine is a very safe drug.
In spite of NSAID and antimalarial therapy, some patients require corticosteroids (such as Prednisone) to control severe symptoms. An extremely severe flare-up of Lupus can be treated with intravenous methylprednisolone sodium succinate (A-Methapred, Solu-Medrol), 1,000 mg administered over 90 minutes, given daily for three days. This therapy will usually abruptly stop the flare, allowing the patient to stay on a low-maintenance dosage of prednisone.
If the maintenance dosage of prednisone is greater than 10 mg per day, additional steroid-sparing drugs will often be added to the regimen or may be used prior to prescribing corticosteroids. In these cases, low dosages of methotrexate (Rheumatrex), such as 7.5 mg given orally once per week, are extremely effective. It is now standard practice to use folic acid to counter some of the minor side effects of methotrexate. Patients taking methotrexate should abstain from alcohol, because combined use increases the risk of cirrhosis.
Methotrexate injection is an alternative to oral administration of the drug. Methotrexate injection is preferred by some patients. methotrexate injection, using a possible dosage of 15 mg/week for a period of at least 24 weeks (including a possible dosage increase), is superior to initiation of methotrexate by the oral route.
Methotrexate is a slow working drug and , improvement in Lupus symptoms or disease activity is usually detected in 3 to 6 weeks. It can take 12 weeks of treatment with methotrexate to achieve its full benefit. Methotrexate injections are used when doctors want to get severe symptoms under control in a shorter period of time. Researchers have found that methotrexate injection, using a possible dosage of 15 mg/week for a period of at least 24 weeks (including a possible dosage increase), is superior to initiation of methotrexate by the oral route. At 24 weeks, the percentage of patients with clinical improved symptoms was significantly higher in the group receiving methotrexate injection (78%) than in the group receiving oral methotrexate (70%).
I hope that this information has been helpful to you.
Peace and Blessings