Do you continue methotrexate while on biologics?

This week we’re bringing you the another question submitted by our one of our clients and social media followers! If you have a question you’d like to submit, please email us here.
Question:
I am currently taking methotrexate for my rheumatoid arthritis. My rheumatologist is considering adding an advanced therapy such as a biologic.  Will I stop the methotrexate as soon as I start the biologic treatment?
Answer:
Advanced treatments for rheumatoid arthritis such as our biologic therapies, have all been studied in combination with methotrexate. In many cases the combination tends to work better than taking the advanced therapy without methotrexate. The decision of whether to continue methotrexate or lower its dose is usually made after the biologic therapy has an opportunity to start working. This can be up to three months from the time it is started. Even in a low-dose, methotrexate can reduce the likelihood of a person’s body recognizing the biologic treatment as a foreign protein. This could protect the longevity of the biologic medication. So, if methotrexate is tolerated well, combining it with a biologic therapy is very common to both increase the overall efficacy of the therapy and to protect the longevity of the biologic.

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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