Wean Off Methotrexate

Question

Asked by Janice Roberts

Wean Off Methotrexate

My husband is on Methotrexate 2.5mg. He take's 7 every Sunday for RA. He wants to get off of it, he is not happy with it, and does not want to go back to the Dr. please tell me how he can wean his self off of it.

Janice Roberts

Answer

So sorry to hear that your husband is having such a rough time. When one member of the family has an illness, it ripples, so the rest of you must be having a hard time, as well. I give you the best advice I can think of.

When you have RA, it's important to switch your thinking from that of a healthy person where medication is something to be taken rarely and to be avoided if you can, to that of someone living with a chronic illness. Untreated RA can damage your joints, affecting mobility and your ability to live your life, work, be with your family, etc., and it can have a potential impact on other systems in your body as well, like your heart. When you have RA, medication is your friend, not your enemy, but the trick is to find one that works. When you dofind a medication that suppresses your RA, it is like a miracle - you get more energy, your pain reduces, the inflammation goes away and you're able to live life again. Sure, you have to take the RA into consideration, manage your energy and you may still have some pain, even when your RA is suppressed, but it is a far different life.

Many people want to treat their RA using only natural remedies, but the unfortunate reality is that bad this time, nothing works as well as allopathic (i.e., traditional Western) medicine. Supplements will not cure your RA and it will not put you into remission. Supplements can make you healthier in general and can be an important part of living well with the disease - I've had RA for 40 years and in my experience, it's a good idea to supplement your Western medicine with alternative medicine like shiatsu massage, acupuncture, seeing a licensed naturopath to make sure that you're as generally healthy as possible etc., but a rheumatologist is essential. That means your husband's best bet for getting his life back - and for your family to get your husband back - is a good rheumatologist. If he's not happy with his current rheumatologist, I suggest he goes back to his GP for a referral to another one.

Has your husband only been on methotrexate and Celebrex? If so, I would recommend that he goes back to his rheumatologist (or sees a new one) and talks about treatment options. There are a number of options available to him and it may be time for him to try one of the Biologics (e.g., Enbrel, Humira Simponi, etc.). When you have RA, it can take a while to find a medication that works for you and it can be very frustrating waiting for that to happen. Your husband can ask for prednisone to bridge the gap until he finds a medication that works - steroids can be very helpful as a bridge, but injections only really lasts about 4-6 weeks, so oral prednisone may work better.

Good luck! Please let us know how things go?

Answered by Lene Andersen, MSW