How do I take methotrexate and how long does it take to work?
Methotrexate is usually taken in tablet form once a week on the same day. The tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed.
Methotrexate tablets come in two strengths, 2.5 mg and 10 mg. To avoid confusion it’s recommended that only the 2.5 mg tablet is used. The two strengths are different sizes but are a very similar colour, so you should always check the dose is correct.
In the early stages of a condition it’s often treated more aggressively and so the starting dose can range from 7.5–15 mg per week. Your doctor may then increase this dose if it isn’t helping your symptoms, but it won’t usually go higher than 25 mg weekly.
Alternatively, methotrexate may be given once a week by injection, usually subcutaneous, if there are side-effects with tablets. A subcutaneous injection is given into a layer of fat between the skin and muscle, rather than intravenously which means directly into a vein.
How long does it take to work?
Methotrexate is a long-term treatment, so it may be 3–12 weeks before you start to notice the benefits. Unless you have severe side-effects (in which case please see a health professional) it’s important to keep taking methotrexate:
- even if it doesn’t seem to be working at first
- even when your symptoms improve (as it will help to keep the disease under control).