In some of our recent blogs we discussed ways to manage adverse effects of methotrexate. One strategy to reduce potential nausea and increase the absorption of methotrexate is to give it by injection rather than swallowed tablets.
The most common form of methotrexate injection is supplied in vials, requiring the dose to be drawn into a syringe before injection. This can be challenging for patients with arthritic hands. A pre-filled syringe became available which made giving the injection easier, however the volume of liquid needed to achieve the same dose of methotrexate was 2.5 times greater than the volume needed if using the vial, meaning that patients were injecting quite a bit of liquid into their bodies when it was not entirely necessary. Now, we have a new pre-filled syringe which is very concentrated and only half the volume of the standard vials is needed to achieve the same dose. For example, in the new syringe, 25mg of medication is contained in 0.5ml whereas in the vial, 25 mg of medication is contained in 1.0ml.
Private insurance plans are paying for this new syringe and our hope is that the government based plans will add this to their list of benefits soon. If you are currently injecting methotrexate or interested in switching from tablets, ask your healthcare practitioner about the new pre-filled syringe option.
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.