Methotrexate Side Effects

by on July 5, 2011


Methotrexate side effects may include and are not limited to mouth sores, vomiting, hair loss, and nausea. More serious side effects can include jaundice and kidney toxicity.

Common Methotrexate Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effects of Methotrexate include:

  • Mouth sores
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Poor appetite rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Eye irritations

Serious Methotrexate Side Effects

More serious side effects may include:

  • Methotrexate Side EffectsUnusual bleeding or bruising
  • Blood in the urine or stool
  • Jaundice
  • Extreme fatigue
  • The inability to eat or drink occur
  • Kidney toxicity or failure
  • Low Red Blood Cell count

If any of these symptoms occur, immediate medical help should be sought.

One serious side effect is a low red blood cell count.  This may increase the patient’s risk of infections, anemia and/or bleeding.  These serious side effects usually occur within 7 days of beginning the medication, and patients normally recover from this problem within 21 days of taking the drug.

Side Effects in Men, Women, Children and Weight Gain

Men and women may experience side effects that include the inability to fertilize or conceive a child.  Barrier methods should be used to prevent conception as well, since methotrexate may cause birth defects.

Mothers should also not nurse while on methotrexate. It is important to consult with a doctor about when it is safe to try to become pregnant or conceive following this therapy. The side effects for children are similar to those found in adults. In addition, Methotrexate is more likely to cause weight loss rather than weight gain.

Other Side Effects of Methotrexate

If there is any sign of infection, including a fever of over 100.5 degrees F or chills, a doctor should be called immediately.  Any unusual symptoms that last for more than 24 hours are cause for concern.  Be sure to give the treating physician a list of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and herbal remedies that are being used, as these may affect the methotrexate’s effectiveness.  Aspirin and ibuprofen should also be avoided. Any blood thinners should be adjusted while on this medication, as should immunizations without prior physician approval.

Methotrexate is a powerful medication used to treat cancer, and there are many very serious side effects associated with this drug.  It should never be taken without a doctor’s recommendation and usage should be monitored closely.  Anyone taking this should avoid alcohol use and sun exposure.  It is also crucial to get plenty of rest and eat well to avoid any possible side effects. While using the drug, blood, kidney function and liver function should be tested regularly.