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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?"

Are you sure you want to close your conversation?

Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window.

Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant is being developed into a brand new type of tool which will help you to get the answers you need for your type of arthritis.

This automated chat service is designed to provide general information about your condition and ways you can manage it. It’s been developed from over 80 years of our research work and also learns from the experiences of its users. It’s a ‘beta’ version which means it’s still learning from you, and others. It uses artificial intelligence to decide which are the best responses to give you and it will improve each time it’s used. The better the information we can provide then the more people we can help to manage their condition too.

The advice in this service isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice so we’d always recommend speaking to your doctor about your treatment. When you use the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you’ll be asked for your first name and the type of arthritis you have, there’s no need to tell us anything more personal than that.

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

Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.
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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.


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.

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