Methotrexate is a really good medicine for arthritis, and it is quite safe, but there are some misconceptions about this medicine. Some confusion happens because it is used in much higher doses for cancer. However, people with arthritis take lower amounts of methotrexate (between 10 mg and 25 mg per week).
Also, it was originally made for cancer as it can stop cancer cells from growing, and it does so by blocking their access to a vitamin called folate. Sadly, this affects healthy cells, too, especially in the stomach, mouth, and hair.
Thus, if your doctor has prescribed you methotrexate and you are worried about its effects on your immune system, then you are a health-conscious person, which is a good thing. Here, we will explain everything you should know about methotrexate and also some effective ways to boost your immune system.
Get An Understanding Of Methotrexate And Its Uses
Methotrexate is a special medicine used to help people with certain health issues, especially those where the body’s defense system, called the immune system, starts causing problems. Usually, when germs try to make us sick, our body’s defense system fights back by causing swelling and pain. But sometimes, the immune system gets confused and starts attacking parts of the body, such as the joints, which can make us sick.
Thus, methotrexate is part of a group called disease-modifying-anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and it works by calming down the overactive immune system. Moreover, people with different conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis use methotrexate to manage their conditions. Also, it is given to children with conditions like juvenile idiopathic arthritis or lupus.
Moreover, methotrexate also assists in controlling the symptoms of these diseases and lowers the risk of lasting harm to the joints caused by inflammation. Also, it might take some time, around 12 weeks or more, to see the full effects. Additionally, doctors also use methotrexate for treating cancer. Yet, the quantity used for treating cancer is generally significantly more than what is necessary for arthritis and similar conditions.
Benefits And Side Effects Of Methotrexate
Methotrexate is a helpful medicine used for treating severe psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis that doesn’t respond well to other treatments. Also, it is effective against certain cancers and can manage chronic Crohn’s disease. Moreover, it offers an alternative to surgery for some specific cases of ectopic pregnancies. Additionally, it provides flexibility in how it’s administered and can be taken orally, through injections, or intravenously.
However, like any medicine, methotrexate has some downsides. Thus, common side effects associated with it include mouth issues, low blood counts, poor appetite, nausea, and abdominal discomfort. Also, some side effects can be serious; they can affect the bone marrow, liver, lungs, and kidneys. Therefore, you should only use it in severe conditions or when other treatments are not working. Also, you should regularly visit your doctor when taking methotrexate.
Effective Ways To Boost Your Immune System While On Methotrexate
You know methotrexate influences your immune system because it is needed to treat your arthritis or other medical conditions. Therefore, you should focus on other ways to boost your immune system. Here are some simple and natural ways that can help you boost your immune system while on methotrexate.
It is important to get your shots each year, especially if your immune system is not very strong. Vaccines help protect you from sicknesses like flu and pneumonia. Moreover, you should consult with your doctor when you are on methotrexate because you have to pause it for a short time during vaccinations.
▶ Healthy Eating
What you eat has a huge impact on your overall health conditions. Also, it is important for your immune system that you eat healthy foods. Moreover, when you are taking methotrexate, it becomes even more important to eat nutrient-rich food. Hence, include foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains in your everyday diet routine. It will help your body get what it needs to stay healthy and prevent many diseases.
▶ Quit Smoking
If you could stop smoking, then it would be a huge win for your health. It lowers your chances of getting sick and can improve your immune system to fight off infections. Moreover, if you are having problems quitting, then you can always get help from professionals.
▶ Less Alcohol
You should avoid alcohol at all if you want to live a healthy and happy life. However, if it is too hard for you, then at least set limits on how much you drink. Furthermore, it would be a highly prudent choice while you are on methotrexate.
▶ Stress Relief
When you are under stress, your immune system can get worse. Therefore, it is very important to manage your stress. Moreover, you can manage your stress in many ways, such as doing yoga and deep breathing exercises. Also, you should get help from your friends and family in such a condition because the more you stay engaged and happy, the more easily you can manage your stress.
▶ Physical Activities
Your physical activities can influence your overall health conditions, including your immune system. Therefore, you should get involved in more physical activities daily when you are taking methotrexate.
Also, you can do exercises because it can make your blood cells work better to keep you healthy. Moreover, if you don’t like doing strength exercises, then you can just do stretches and warmups because they can also help you improve your immune system.
Your immune system is your defense to protect you from many diseases. However, methotrexate influences your immune system to treat arthritis and other conditions. Above, we have explained methotrexate in detail, including its uses, benefits, and side effects. Also, we have suggested some simple yet very effective ways to improve your immune system while on methotrexate.
However, if you follow these ways, then it will improve your overall health whether you are taking methotrexate or not. Also, you should not take methotrexate without consulting your doctor because it is used for different conditions, and dosages can vary according to your specific condition and requirements.
- MedlinePlus(2017) Methotrexate. Available Online at: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682019.html
- National Institute Of Health(2023) Methotrexate. Available Online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556114/