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Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

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What can it do?

Welcome to the beta Arthritis Virtual Assistant. At the moment it can give you general information about your condition and medication, and provide you with useful exercises to help manage your arthritis.

Why do we need your help?

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant has been built to learn and improve with every use. That way, whenever you use it, you’re indirectly helping another person get the answers that they need for their arthritis.

What can you ask?

You'll get the best response if your question relates to a single type of arthritis, and is expressed as clearly and simply as possible. For example, "What are the best exercises for osteoarthritis?" or "What are the side effects of methotrexate?"

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Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant (AVA) allows you to ask questions and get answers about your condition and how best to manage it. It’s based on over 80 years of our research and uses artificial intelligence to decide on the best responses to give you. The AVA is currently in ‘beta’ testing which means it’s still learning and will improve as more people use it.

The AVA provides general information. For further info, or if you have any concerns you should speak to a healthcare professional.

The AVA is intended for UK users. Medical practice may differ in different regions, so please seek local advice instead of using the AVA if you are outside the UK.

By using the AVA you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of use and consent to how we will use the information you provide.

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Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

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> > > > What are the possible risks and side-effects of methotrexate?

What are the possible risks and side-effects of methotrexate?

As with all medications, methotrexate can sometimes cause side-effects. Methotrexate may cause nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, hair loss (usually minor) and skin rashes.

It can also affect the blood (causing fewer blood cells to be made) and your liver. You'll therefore need to have blood tests before starting methotrexate and at regular intervals while you're taking it. You may be asked to keep a record of your blood test results in a booklet, and you should take it with you when you visit your GP or the hospital.

Methotrexate can affect the lungs so you'll have a chest X-ray before starting it. Patients suffering from long-term lung diseases like fibrosis or emphysema are often not suitable for methotrexate.

You must not take methotrexate unless you’re having regular blood checks. These are usually done every two weeks when you start on methotrexate and the dose is being built up, then every six weeks when you are on a stable dose. Because methotrexate affects the immune system, it can make you more likely to develop infections. You should tell your doctor or nurse specialist straight away if you develop any of the following after starting methotrexate:

  • a sore throat, fever or any other signs of infection
  • shortness of breath
  • unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice) 
  • any other new symptoms or anything else that concerns you.

You should stop methotrexate and see your doctor immediately if any of these symptoms are severe or you’re becoming very unwell.

You should also see your doctor if you develop chickenpox or shingles or come into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles.

These infections can be severe in people on methotrexate. You may need antiviral treatment, and you may be advised to stop taking methotrexate until you're better.

In rare cases, methotrexate causes inflammation of the lung with breathlessness. If this happens to you, see your doctor.

Most doctors prescribe folic acid tablets to patients who are taking methotrexate as this can reduce the likelihood of side-effects. Some doctors advise that it shouldn't be taken on the same day as methotrexate.

Reducing the risk of infection

  • Try to avoid close contact with people with severe active infections.
  • For advice on avoiding infection from food, visit the NHS Choices Food Poisoning website.

Helpline

0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question
Close
For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
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