Methotrexate

Methotrexate is a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant of a type known as an antimetabolite that interferes with the synthesis of folic acid, an essential component of cells. Methotrexate is a drug that counteracts folic acid synthesis and belongs to the class of drugs called antimetabolites. At high doses it counteracts cell growth and proliferation and is used to treat some cancers (particularly leukemias). At much lower doses (50-100 times lower) it has an anti-inflammatory effect and is used to treat many rheumatologic diseases including, but not limited to, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

Methotrexate is indicated for the antineoplastic chemotherapeutic treatment of the following forms: breast carcinoma, choriocarcinoma and similar trophoblastic diseases, acute and subacute lymphatic and meningeal leukemia, lymphosarcoma, mycosis fungoides.

Clinical research has shown it to be considerably more effective in childhood leukemia than in adult leukemia. In some cases of acute leukemia it has produced a clinical improvement and has prolonged the survival time for a period ranging from a few weeks to 2 years. The hematologic picture, obtained from blood examination and bone marrow smears after Methotrexate administration, can become almost indistinguishable from normal for variable periods of time. The best effects have been observed in acute leukemias characterized by the presence of highly immature forms in the bone marrow and blood. Favorable results obtained with Methotrexate in choriocarcinoma have been reported.

Methotrexate is particularly indicated in mono- or polychemotherapy, for the treatment of: osteogenic sarcoma, acute leukemia, bronchogenic carcinoma, epidermoid carcinoma of the head and neck.

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