double edged sword

Methotrexate Teva 100mg_ml 1x50ml

Methotrexate Teva 100mg_ml 1x50ml (Photo credit: Haukeland universitetssjukehus)

Taking a forced vacation from methotrexate due to a drug shortage led me to some interesting discoveries. The first few weeks off the drug, I felt great. Amazing, even. I was less tired; I had more energy; I got fewer headaches. But that didn’t last.

Enter phase two: what I like to call the “remembering why I was on MTX in the first place” phase. I hurt more, so I was exhausted all the time and short-tempered. My psoriasis came back on my scalp. My PsA was definitely much less well controlled—which is funny, because I didn’t think it was doing all that well even on the MTX.

But my awesome NP found a pharmacy that had a supply of the stuff coming in, so she sent in a scrip for me. It has the preservative, which is different but not bad. I took it for the first time in a long time last night, and I feel downright horrible today: nauseated, delightful headache, hot flashes—the whole nine yards. I don’t know if it’s a reaction to the preservative or just to getting back on my favourite highly toxic drug, but there it is. (And it’s not from mixing alcohol and MTX; I was DD for yesterday’s Super Bowl festivities, so I didn’t touch even a drop.)

When I first found out about the drug shortage, it seemed a little like Providence: Maybe this was a sign that I could get off one of the three main drugs I’m taking (which are MTX, Plaquenil and Enbrel) and still be OK. Maybe I can reduce my drug load a bit and still feel the same as I do on them. That turned out not to be the case. And while that definitely bums me out some, I’m glad that I can feel something close to normal even if it takes two injections and 42 pills per week to get there.

8 thoughts on “double edged sword

  1. These drug shortages terrify me- I’m glad you were able to get more. I’m currently on hiatus as well and two of the same three (my exception is Enbrel). Like you, I don’t miss the side-effects, by my RA symptoms are slowly getting worse (and sometimes not-so-slowly)… I’m not sure how much longer I can hold out. Good luck readjusting! *hugs*

  2. Was the shortage just for the injection form of MTX? I’m on the oral form and this is the first I’ve heard about shortages…

    That whole cycle of re-adjusting sucks though. I hope you get through the worst of it soon. *hugs*

    • Yeah, the shortage is just for the injection form. It’s a pain now to have to go to three pharmacies to get all my drugs. Boo.

      I learned coffee and chocolate are not my friends as I readjust. Blech.

  3. You know what? I had a similar experience when I went off MTX before getting pregnant. At first I was like “this is awesome!” and then I realized that there really was a reason that I had been on MTX in the first place. Though I felt shitty, it was sort of nice to realize that the MTX was actually doing something beneficial. I think I will be much more grateful to go back to it after the baby knowing that it is actually helping. I really hope things are looking up for you and that you are feeling better soon!!

  4. I have suffered through chronic pain for over 20 years, and know many folks with RA. I have, over this period of time, been seeking natural methods for relief since, on principle, I reject the notion of drugs and the prospect of surgery. Over the last two years I have developed a natural method of pain relief that works very well for me, as it has for so many others who suffer through chronic pain. If you like, feel free to download the white paper that I have developed, which reflects the experiences of those who have used my method. You can find this paper at, and I hope this information is helpful to you.

    take care, thom

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