Methotrexate and Ectopic Pregnancy
What is methotrexate?
Methotrexate is a medication used to stop the pregnancy in case of an ectopic pregnancy.
This treatment is an option If Ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed early and the patient’s condition is stable. This treatment option is best suited for patients with hCG levels of 5000 mIU/mL or less.
How is it administered?
It is given as an injection into the muscle (usually in the buttocks). Usually it is given for one time, but few women may need a second or more based on the doctor’s decision.
How it works:
After giving the methotrexate injection, the level of the hCG hormone is monitored through a blood test on the fourth and seventh day and then weekly until the hormone level returns to its normal level. This process may take several weeks. Surgery might be done if the medication does not work.
Possible side effects:
They may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Headache or dizziness from light
- Sensitiveness to sunlight
- Temporary hair loss
- Sore throat or mouth
- Lung inflammation, rare
You should go to the hospital immediately if any of the following symptoms occur:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Shoulder pain
- Heavy vaginal bleeding or bruising and unusual bleeding
- Dizziness or fainting
The patient should avoid:
- Intercourse during treatment until the hormone level stabilizes. Talk to your doctor about when it is safe to resume.
- Avoid pregnancy for 3 months after treatment. Consult the doctor for the suitable contraceptive options.
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, Voltaren, and aspirin. Avoid taking these medications during treatment and for a week after treatment ends.
- Products containing folic acid, such as vitamins during the treatment, may reduce the effectiveness of treatment.
Methotrexate can remain in body fluids (vomit, Urine and feces) for up to seven days after completion of treatment. Therefore, it is recommended to take some special precautions to reduce the chance of others being exposed to it:
- After using the toilet, close the toilet lid and flush it completely.
- Use gloves when handling clothes or beddings that may have the patient’s fluids, and wash them immediately.