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Rheumatrex Warnings and Precautions

If you are taking Rheumatrex, you will need to be monitored closely. This is a powerful medication that can cause serious lung problems, skin reactions, and other symptoms. In fact, the drug generally is recommended only for situations in which other, less toxic treatments have been tried first. Warnings and precautions for Rheumatrex also apply to pregnant women and people with alcoholism.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking Rheumatrex® (methotrexate), talk to your healthcare provider if you have:
 
  • Liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, or liver failure
  • Alcoholism
  • A weakened immune system due to HIV, AIDS, or various other causes
  • Low blood cell counts of any type, such as anemia or low platelets
  • Plans to receive radiation treatments
  • Any allergies, including to food, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may be taking, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Rheumatrex Precautions and Warnings

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Rheumatrex include the following:
 
  • Rheumatrex is a powerful medication capable of producing significant toxicity. It should be reserved for treating severe diseases in people who have already tried less toxic treatment alternatives.
     
  • All people taking Rheumatrex must be closely and regularly monitored. This may include various tests such as blood tests to check liver and kidney function, chest x-rays, and even periodic liver biopsies. Frequent blood tests to check blood cell counts are also necessary.
     
  • This medication can cause liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, especially with long-term use.
     
  • Rheumatrex can cause serious lung problems. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop a dry cough and/or shortness of breath during treatment.
     
  • In rare cases, Rheumatrex can cause serious skin reactions that may involve a potentially disfiguring or fatal loss of skin tissue. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any unexplained rash while taking it.
     
  • Low blood cell counts due to this drug can be quite dangerous. Depending on the type, such problems can increase the risk of dangerous infections or life-threatening bleeding.
     
  • Taking Rheumatrex while receiving radiation treatments may increase the risk of tissue and bone damage.
     
  • This medicine may sometimes cause lymphoma (a type of cancer), which will sometimes go away once treatment is stopped.
     
  • Rheumatrex is considered a pregnancy Category X medicine, which means it presents a clear risk of harm to the fetus (see Methotrexate and Pregnancy for more information). Women should use appropriate birth control while taking it and should not attempt to get pregnant until a full menstrual cycle after stopping the medication. Men should not try to conceive a child for at least three months after stopping the drug.
     
  • Rheumatrex can interact with certain medications (see Rheumatrex Drug Interactions).
     
  • Rheumatrex passes through breast milk and could cause serious problems in a breastfed child. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, check with your healthcare provider before taking this drug (see Methotrexate and Breastfeeding).
     
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