How is subcutaneous methotrexate different from methotrexate pills?
Methotrexate can be given many ways, depending on your condition. For conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA), patients can give themselves methotrexate orally in pills or subcutaneously by injecting methotrexate solution. When methotrexate is injected subcutaneously, it is given through a syringe or an auto-injector pen.
There are different dosages for methotrexate pills and methotrexate solution administered through syringes or auto-injector pens. If you need to take methotrexate, your doctor will decide what dosage is right for you.
When methotrexate is taken as an injection, the body absorbs it in a different way than when it is taken orally. Studies have shown that patients who take subcutaneous methotrexate may have a better response to treatment and find it easier on their stomach than methotrexate taken by mouth.
Does it make a difference if you take methotrexate in a pill or in an auto-injector pen?
Well, that can depend on many things!
For one thing, it can depend on whether you prefer taking your medications through your mouth or by another route. Some people have a hard time swallowing their oral medications. Other people may not like being injected with a needle.
But in terms of how well methotrexate works in treating a condition, taking a drug orally may affect how your body absorbs it. Drugs that are taken by mouth have to pass through the stomach and small intestine to be absorbed. Drugs that are injected do not have to go through this system—so more medication may be absorbed into the body to do its job.
Clinical studies have shown that patients given subcutaneous methotrexate through an auto-injector pen were able to absorb more of the drug—and experienced fewer gastrointestinal side effects—than patients given methotrexate tablets.
Are methotrexate auto-injector pens more expensive than methotrexate pills or solution?
Generic methotrexate is available in a pill form and in a liquid solution, which comes in a vial and is injected by syringe. At this time, there are no generic forms of subcutaneous methotrexate auto-injector pens.
However, the companies that make or market methotrexate pills, solution, and auto-injector pens may offer co-pay help or coupons that help eligible patients afford their medications. If you’ve been prescribed methotrexate, your doctor’s office may be able to help you learn about these kinds of patient and financial assistance programs.
Aside from taking a medication, what other things can I do for my RA?
Doing simple things such as exercising may help your flexibility and muscle strength (Strong muscles can help support your joints!). In addition, eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and avoiding smoking can help you feel better. Physical and occupational therapy may also help.
The thought of doing all these things may seem overwhelming. But you don’t have to do it alone! One online resource, RA Coach, offers specialized support for RA patients and their caregivers.
Signing up with RA Coach will give you years of access to a structured program that provides information, tools, and exercises designed for your specific needs. You can learn about self-help techniques that can help you reduce your pain and manage the emotional ups and downs of RA. If you struggle with developing or maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, RA Coach can help. It even offers tools to help you track your RA symptoms, treatment, and health.
Does methotrexate work better in a pill or in an auto-injector pen?
Everyone is different, so the same medication will have different effects on individual people. The same goes for methotrexate.
That being said, a medication given through the mouth is absorbed through the stomach and small intestine. When that same medication is given in a different way—say, under the skin—it does not have to go through the stomach and small intestine to be absorbed. This means more of the medication is available to work in the body.
The different ways the drug can be administered may cause a different response in patients. Methotrexate given subcutaneously through an auto-injector pen may be more effective than methotrexate given through a pill—and it may also cause fewer side effects on the stomach.
Subcutaneous methotrexate can be given by injection from a vial and syringe or prefilled syringe or through an auto-injector pen. Auto-injector pens can work in different ways, but they are designed to make it easy for people to inject themselves with a medication.
How does using a syringe and vial compare to using an auto-injector pen?
There are typically far fewer steps involved when using an auto-injector pen than when using a vial and syringe. Plus, using a pen means you don’t need a separate vial and syringe to take your medication if it’s in a liquid solution.
Also, auto-injector pens may be associated with reduced pain on injection. In the case of subcutaneous methotrexate auto-injector pens, many people have noted they are relatively pain-free to use.
Finally, you and your doctor may prefer an auto-injector pen over a syringe and vial because it can deliver more accurate doses of methotrexate.