When you have debilitating joint pain and muscle stiffness, seek medical attention immediately. Your rheumatologist can confirm if you have polymyalgia. Blood tests and imaging are required for a polymyalgia diagnosis. Then, he will prescribe medications for the next three months.
Your rheumy will recommend a low-dose of corticosteroids during the first week of treatment. An example of corticosteroid is prednisone. Then it is gradually reduced in the following weeks. Together with oral steroid drugs or corticosteroids, methotrexate may be given to PMR patients.
Patients with PMR are given at least 10 milligrams of methotrexate per week. The drug at this dosage is combined with prednisone. The goal is to achieve “corticosteroid sparing effects”. This refers to the ability to reduce intake of corticosteroids to 10 mg of prednisone or less. Extended use of prednisone is not recommended that’s why it is prescribed together with methotrexate.
An Immunosuppresive Drug
If you know someone with cancer and taking meth, you will probably be alarmed. You will wonder why your rheumy prescribed a cancer medicine for polymyalgia. Methotrexate, a chemotherapy agent, used to be known as amethopterin. Remember that polymyalgia is an autoimmune disease. Inflammation caused by active cells in an autoimmune disorder must be suppressed. Methotrexate has the capability to suppress the fast growth active cells in the body. These cells that reproduce rapidly are cancer cells, skin cells, and bone marrow cells. This is how methotrexate works; it is an immune system suppressant or immunosuppressant.
Methotrexate for Cancer Treatment
The drug methotrexate serves as a treatment for certain types cancer. These include cancer of the skin, lungs, breast, and head. Methotrexate is also used for treating immune disorders. Inflammation of tissues in the joints and muscles are characteristic of autoimmune diseases.
When main medications are not effective, rheumatologists prescribe methotrexate. This drug has an impressive ability to combine with other drugs to reduce side effects, particularly of steroid drugs. This drug can be taken once or twice a week, but must never be taken every day. A daily dose of methotrexate can cause death.
Methotrexate is effective in reducing joint damage. Damage to the joints is common among patients suffering from polymyalgia rheumatica. Methotrexate will reduce pain in PMR patients and improve their mobility. The improvement in mobility of persons enhances the quality of life of PMR patients.
Methotrexate can also be combined with drugs that target abnormal immune response. This response may result in the joint destruction which methotrexate can arrest. It allows patients to receive real customized treatment based on their needs.
A person with liver disease must not use methotrexate. Patients taking methotrexate will experience decreased blood cells in their CBC tests. These blood cells fight infections and aid in blood clotting. The kidneys and lungs may also be affected.
Always remember to consult your rheumatologist before taking any medications. Methotrexate should only be taken as prescribed. Because older people are at high risk for polymyalgia rheumatica, they should take precaution to avoid side effects of methotrexate. Thorough medical history is advised. This medicine must not be given to a child without doctor’s advice.