Many physicians have often recommended that patients should use Methotrexate for Psoriasis. Psoriasis is a disease of the skin and often affects areas like the armpits, legs, hands and buttocks among others. However, in some cases, Psoriasis is often taken to be another skin ailment called Eczema. It is therefore important to look at Eczema Vs Psoriasis. They are both skin diseases and this is why they are usually confused. However, it is quite easy for a dermatologist to tell the two apart by simply looking at the symptoms. When comparing Eczema Vs Psoriasis, it is noted that they also have different forms of medication. It is important to understand the difference between the two so as to get a proper diagnosis.
Methotrexate is a medicine that can either be taken orally, or by shot. Orally, it is taken in three different 12 hourly doses within 24 hours while if taken as a shot, it is taken once a week. It has been established that Methotrexate slows down the rapid growth of skin cells thus keeping Psoriasis under control. This is because; it blocks DNA synthesis which is a very important part in the process of cell reproduction. In addition to the medication blocking cells, it also acts as an immune suppressant and therefore helps to fight off diseases like; Psoriasis and Arthritis among others.
The medicine is only used in cases of severe Psoriasis when other treatments like ointments and physiotherapy, have failed. It is however important to note that the use of Methotrexate is discouraged among pregnant women, anemic people, people liver or kidney diseases, tuberculosis patients, people with stomach ulcers and people who frequently drink alcohol. The medicine is therefore only applicable to a group of people that are not listed above. People who are not supposed to take Methotrexate can use the alternative medication of Hydroxyurea which also works like Methotrexate.
It is important to note that when on Methotrexate, patients should not drink alcohol and should visit a physician frequently so that their blood tests are monitored. The progress of Psoriasis patients on Methotrexate should therefore be monitored so as to determine whether the medication is or is not working.
It is also important to note that like any other medication, Methotrexate also has certain side effects. These may or may not occur in certain cases depending on the patient. Some of the side effects include nausea, loss of appetite, low blood counts, sleeping problems, fatigue, occasional bloody diarrhea, skin rash, headaches, fever and bleeding among others. If the medication is taken by a pregnant woman, it may lead to birth defects.
One of the long term effects of the medication is liver damage; which on occasion may reverse after the patient stops taking the medication. It is for this reason that patients taking the medication need to have an occasional liver biopsy to determine the status of their liver.
Recent studies have established that if a Psoriasis patient has been taking Methotrexate for a period of twelve months without showing any signs of improvement, it is not advisable to increase the dosage of the medication. Therefore, that the maximum dosage patients should take is 20mg of the medicine per week. In addition, it has also been established that in order to minimize some of the side effects of Methotrexate, the above weekly dosage should be split into smaller doses of administration.
From the above, it is noted that, Methotrexate is an extremely strong drug that is mostly used in cancer treatments. In small doses however, it can be used to treat Psoriasis outbreaks and decrease the effects of Psoriasis Arthritis. Therefore, using Methotrexate for Psoriasis should only be in extreme cases, when other remedies have failed.