Methotrexate psoriasis treatment is arguably the best way to rapidly get your psoriasis under control. Sometimes, when we are very stressed, we might start to develop even more severe psoriasis and psoriasis in new areas such as psoriasis under breast, groin psoriasis, and vulvar psoriasis.
When this happens, sometimes the only viable option is methotrexate treatment. However, it is not to be taken lightly because if it is taken on a long-term basis, it can cause liver damage, and, potentially, cancer (this is rare – read on for details).
I took methotrexate myself for six months…
I am a psoriasis sufferer also. For about six months once when my psoriasis was out of control I took methotrexate. Thankfully, I did not have any side effects. By the way, methotrexate treatment is just a pill that you take each day. No messy creams.
The way it cleared up my psoriasis was almost magical. It practically went away completely in the six months. This gave me a “fresh start” to use the creams again. While I was taking this methotrexate psoriasis treatment, I had to go for monthly blood tests to check my liver function. And remember that pesky potential risk of getting cancer? I will discuss that more below, as promised.
Worth it? Only you can decide.
Since taking it, I have had flare-ups of psoriasis and it has never quite gone away again, but it has never gotten as bad as it was (I could barely bend some of my fingers) prior to the methotrexate psoriasis treatment. Ultimately, only you can weigh out the risks versus the potential benefits of treatment.
The Science: How does it work?
First of all, what is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a genetic, non-contagious skin condition. It can look like a burn, like leprosy, like acne, like eczema. It just doesn’t look good. The reason psoriasis occurs on a patch of skin is that the skin cells are multiplying way faster than they are normally supposed to.
Some people get psoriasis on just one small part of their body. Others get psoriasis all over their bodies including unfortunate locations such as scalp psoriasis, nail psoriasis, groin psoriasis, vulvar psoriasis, and psoriasis under breast to name a few.
There are many treatments for psoriasis. These include: coal tar (yes, seriously), steroid creams, UV light such as sunlight, and, of course, methotrexate psoriasis treatment. These are treatments, not cures. There is no known cure for psoriasis. Stress makes psoriasis worse for most sufferers.
Ok, so how does methotrexate work?
You may or may not know this, but inside your body, you have many, many enzymes. Enzymes are primarily proteins and they basically go around doing all the “work” inside of your body. Think of them as minions.
So, there’s an enzyme (minion) whose job it is to make sure that your skin cells grow quickly. And, clearly, the guy is out of control in certain parts of your body. Then along comes methotrexate. Methotrexate goes up to the enzyme (minion) and says, “Hey, man. Seriously. Chill.” And this is very convincing, so the enzyme (minion) stops making your skin cells grow too quickly.
In more precise, scientific language, we would say that methotrexate inhibits one of the enzymes involved in the rapid growth of skin cells, thereby stopping them from growing too rapidly.
The Warnings, as promised
Refrain from taking methotrexate psoriasis treatment if you:
- have underdeveloped bone marrow, a low white blood cell count, low platelets or significant anemia.
- have an active peptic ulcer
- are an alcoholic
- have alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis or other chronic liver diseases
- have an immunodeficiency syndrome or an active infectious disease
- are trying to conceive (applies to both men and women), pregnant or nursing (N.B. women should wait 4 months after taking methotrexate before they try to conceive; men should wait 3 months)
- have liver or kidney abnormalities
Side Effects (as I keep promising)
These side effects are uncommon:
- liver damage
- developing reversible liver scarring
Because of this risk, your physician will likely send you for a blood test to test your liver function monthly while you are on methotrexate.
The following increase the risk of liver damage by methotrexate:
- alcohol consumption
- abnormal kidney function
- prior liver problems
Rare side effects:
- Years after taking the drug, in rare instances certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma, and bone marrow toxicity have occurred.
- Methotrexate can reduce the white blood cell count and therefore increase a person’s risk of getting sick or infected.
For the average relatively healthy person who has severe (and I mean severe) psoriasis, you might want to seriously consider methotrexate psoriasis treatment. This is particularly true if you have been through some stress that has caused your psoriasis to flare out of control and you sort of need to rein it in. However, there is no substitute for proper medical advice. You should consult your dermatologist and find out whether he or she thinks this medication would be a good fit for you.
Disclaimer: I think this goes without saying, but I am not a medical professional. The information provided here is well-researched and true to the best of my knowledge and experience. For personal medical advice please seek the assistance of a licensed physician.