Methotrexate Shortage


I am currently taking this drug for rheumatoid arthritis, the following information was taken from WebMD which explains the use of this drug:

Methotrexate is given weekly either as a shot (injection) or by mouth (orally).

How It Works

Methotrexate interferes with the production and maintenance of DNA, the genetic material in the cells of your body. It is not known exactly how methotrexate works in rheumatoid arthritis, but it can reduce inflammation and slow the progression of the disease. Methotrexate is considered a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). DMARDs are also called immunosuppressive drugs or slow-acting antirheumatic drugs (SAARDs).

Why It Is Used

Methotrexate reduces inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. It is the most common DMARD used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.1 Methotrexate may be used:

  • In the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis to prevent disease progression.
  • In combination with other medicines such as other DMARDs.

How Well It Works

Methotrexate is effective in relieving joint inflammation and pain, slowing disease progression, and preventing disability by delaying joint destruction.2 People with rheumatoid arthritis may be more likely to continue treatment with methotrexate than with other DMARDs because of favorable results and tolerable side effects. Studies indicate that more than 50% of people who take methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis continue taking the medicine for more than 3 years, which is longer than any other DMARD.3

Living with RA can be a daily battle. It’s your attitude, I think, which can make or break you when it comes to a chronic illness. And when I read the following story regarding one 12 year old’s struggle with childhood leukemia, I feel my own health problems are minuscule compared to what this poor boy has to go through:

Child cancer patient deals with drug shortage

Editor’s note: Owen McMasters, 12, was diagnosed with Acuta Lymphoblastic Leukemia in November 2011. His family has been dealing with the shortage of methotrexate, a drug that treats cancer by slowing the growth of cancer cells. Between 2006 and 2010, drug shortages increased by more than 200%. Read more about these shortages, and what the FDA is doing to help, on The Chart.

Learning that the enlarged lymph nodes I showed my mom meant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer, and not mono, was devastating.

It meant that I would not be returning to school until at least next August. It meant I would spend unknown amounts of time in the hospital. It meant I would not be able to be around groups of people. (I have to limit which friends and family members I am around, since a simple cold for you could mean severe illness for me.)

It meant my hair I loved fell out, leaving me with baby bird fuzz on my head.

I underwent two operations in the first 36 hours and then went under anesthesia for either a spinal tap with chemotherapy, a bone marrow biopsy, or both, nearly every week. Because my platelets and white blood cell count are often critically low, I am unable to ride my bike, play any sports, wrestle with my brothers or do many of the things I like to do.

My new friends are other kids with bald or fuzzy heads who are going through the same thing as me.

Because I have every intention of beating cancer, and seem to be doing a great job of it so far (despite being told in November that my cancer was high-risk), I have done everything my doctors have asked of me.

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Sometimes I try to keep everything in perspective.  I know that I will still have a good many quality years left and will make do the best I can with what I am going through. This child however, it’s heartbreaking to see what he is going through and I do hope that he is able to beat this monster of a disease and live a long beautiful life like he deserves.

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