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Otrexup

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Otrexup

SIDE EFFECTS

The following adverse reactions are discussed in more detail in other sections of the labeling.

The most frequently reported adverse reactions include ulcerative stomatitis, leukopenia, nausea, and abdominal distress. Other frequently reported adverse reactions are malaise, undue fatigue, chills and fever, dizziness and decreased resistance to infection.

Clinical Trials Experience

This section provides a summary of adverse reactions reported in subjects in clinical studies conducted with Otrexup as well as with methotrexate injection and oral methotrexate.

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug, and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The approximate incidences of methotrexate-attributed (i.e. placebo rate subtracted) adverse reactions in 12 to 18 week double-blind studies of patients (n=128) with rheumatoid arthritis treated with low-dose oral (7.5 to 15 mg/week) pulse methotrexate, are listed below. Virtually all of these patients were on concomitant nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and some were also taking low dosages of corticosteroids. Hepatic histology was not examined in these short-term studies.

Incidence greater than 10%: Elevated liver function tests 15%, nausea/vomiting 10%.

Incidence 3% to 10%: Stomatitis, thrombocytopenia (platelet count less than 100,000/mm³).

Incidence 1% to 3%: Rash/pruritis/dermatitis, diarrhea, alopecia, leukopenia (WBC less than 3000/mm³), pancytopenia, dizziness.

Two other controlled trials of patients (n=680) with Rheumatoid Arthritis on 7.5 mg to 15 mg/wk oral doses showed an incidence of interstitial pneumonitis of 1%.

Other less common reactions included decreased hematocrit, headache, upper respiratory infection, anorexia, arthralgias, chest pain, coughing, dysuria, eye discomfort, epistaxis, fever, infection, sweating, tinnitus, and vaginal discharge.

Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

The approximate incidences of adverse reactions reported in pediatric patients with pJIA treated with oral, weekly doses of methotrexate (5 to 20 mg/m²/wk or 0.1 to 0.65 mg/kg/wk) were as follows (virtually all patients were receiving concomitant nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and some also were taking low doses of corticosteroids): elevated liver function tests, 14%; gastrointestinal reactions (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), 11%; stomatitis, 2%; leukopenia, 2%; headache, 1.2%; alopecia, 0.5%; dizziness, 0.2%; and rash, 0.2%. Although there is experience with dosing up to 30 mg/m²/wk in pJIA, the published data for doses above 20 mg/m²/wk are too limited to provide reliable estimates of adverse reaction rates.

Psoriasis

There are two literature reports (Roenigk, 1969, and Nyfors, 1978) describing large series (n=204, 248) of psoriasis patients treated with methotrexate. Dosages ranged up to 25 mg per week and treatment was administered for up to four years. With the exception of alopecia, photosensitivity, and “burning of skin lesions” (each 3% to 10%), the adverse reaction rates in these reports were very similar to those in the rheumatoid arthritis studies. Rarely, painful plaque erosions may appear (Pearce, HP and Wilson, BB: Am Acad Dermatol 35: 835-838, 1996).

Other Adverse Reactions

Other adverse reactions that have been reported with methotrexate in oncology, RA, pJIA, and psoriasis patients are listed below by organ system.

Alimentary System: gingivitis, pharyngitis, stomatitis, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hematemesis, melena, gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding, enteritis, pancreatitis.

Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders: suppressed hematopoiesis, anemia, aplastic anemia, pancytopenia, leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis, eosinophilia, lymphadenopathy and lymphoproliferative disorders (including reversible). Hypogammaglobulinemia has been reported rarely.

Cardiovascular: pericarditis, pericardial effusion, hypotension, and thromboembolic events (including arterial thrombosis, cerebral thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis, retinal vein thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, and pulmonary embolus).

Central Nervous System: headaches, drowsiness, blurred vision, transient blindness, speech impairment including dysarthria and aphasia, hemiparesis, paresis and convulsions have also occurred following administration of methotrexate. Following low doses, there have been occasional reports of transient subtle cognitive dysfunction, mood alteration or unusual cranial sensations, leukoencephalopathy, or encephalopathy.

Hepatobiliary Disorders: hepatotoxicity, acute hepatitis, chronic fibrosis and cirrhosis, hepatic failure, decrease in serum albumin, liver enzyme elevations.

Infection: There have been case reports of sometimes fatal opportunistic infections in patients receiving methotrexate therapy for neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia was the most common opportunistic infection. There have also been reports of infections, pneumonia, Cytomegalovirus infection, including cytomegaloviral pneumonia, sepsis, fatal sepsis, nocardiosis; histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, Herpes zoster, Herpes simplex hepatitis, and disseminated Herpes simplex.

Musculoskeletal System: stress fracture.

Ophthalmic: conjunctivitis, serious visual changes of unknown etiology.

Pulmonary System: respiratory fibrosis, respiratory failure, alveolitis, interstitial pneumonitis deaths have been reported, and chronic interstitial obstructive pulmonary disease has occasionally occurred.

Skin: erythematous rashes, pruritus, urticaria, photosensitivity, pigmentary changes, alopecia, ecchymosis, telangiectasia, acne, furunculosis, erythema multiforme, toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, skin necrosis, skin ulceration and exfoliative dermatitis.

Urogenital System: severe nephropathy or renal failure, azotemia, cystitis, hematuria, proteinuria; defective oogenesis or spermatogenesis, transient oligospermia, menstrual dysfunction, vaginal discharge, and gynecomastia; infertility, abortion, fetal death, fetal defects.

Other rarer reactions related to or attributed to the use of methotrexate such as nodulosis, vasculitis, arthralgia/myalgia, loss of libido/ impotence, diabetes, osteoporosis, sudden death, lymphoma, including reversible lymphomas, tumor lysis syndrome, soft tissue necrosis and osteonecrosis. Anaphylactoid reactions have been reported.

Read the Otrexup (methotrexate injection) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Aspirin, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, and Steroids

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should not be administered prior to or concomitantly with the high doses of methotrexate, such as used in the treatment of osteosarcoma. Concomitant administration of some NSAIDs with high dose methotrexate therapy has been reported to elevate and prolong serum methotrexate levels, resulting in deaths from severe hematologic and gastrointestinal toxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Caution should be used when NSAIDs and salicylates are administered concomitantly with lower doses of methotrexate, including Otrexup. These drugs have been reported to reduce the tubular secretion of methotrexate in an animal model and may enhance its toxicity.

Despite the potential interactions, studies of methotrexate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis have usually included concurrent use of constant dosage regimens of NSAIDs, without apparent problems. It should be appreciated, however, that the doses used in rheumatoid arthritis (7.5 to 15 mg/week) are somewhat lower than those used in psoriasis and that larger doses could lead to unexpected toxicity. Aspirin, NSAIDs, and/or low dose steroids may be continued, although the possibility of increased toxicity with concomitant use of NSAIDs including salicylates has not been fully explored. Steroids may be reduced gradually in patients who respond to methotrexate.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Use caution if high-dose methotrexate is administered to patients receiving proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy. Case reports and published population pharmacokinetic studies suggest that concomitant use of some PPIs, such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, and pantoprazole, with methotrexate (primarily at high dose), may elevate and prolong serum levels of methotrexate and/or its metabolite hydroxymethotrexate, possibly leading to methotrexate toxicities. In two of these cases, delayed methotrexate elimination was observed when high-dose methotrexate was coadministered with PPIs, but was not observed when methotrexate was co-administered with ranitidine. However, no formal drug interaction studies of methotrexate with ranitidine have been conducted.

Oral Antibiotics

Oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, chloramphenicol, and nonabsorbable broad spectrum antibiotics, may decrease intestinal absorption of methotrexate or interfere with the enterohepatic circulation by inhibiting bowel flora and suppressing metabolism of the drug by bacteria.

Penicillins may reduce the renal clearance of methotrexate; increased serum concentrations of methotrexate with concomitant hematologic and gastrointestinal toxicity have been observed with high and low dose methotrexate. Use of Otrexup with penicillins should be carefully monitored.

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole has been reported rarely to increase bone marrow suppression in patients receiving methotrexate, probably by decreased tubular secretion and/or an additive antifolate effect.

Hepatotoxins

The potential for increased hepatotoxicity when methotrexate is administered with other hepatotoxic agents has not been evaluated. However, hepatotoxicity has been reported in such cases. Therefore, patients receiving concomitant therapy with Otrexup and other potential hepatotoxins (e.g., azathioprine, retinoids, and sulfasalazine) should be closely monitored for possible increased risk of hepatotoxicity.

Theophylline

Methotrexate may decrease the clearance of theophylline; theophylline levels should be monitored when used concurrently with Otrexup.

Folic Acid and Antifolates

Vitamin preparations containing folic acid or its derivatives may decrease responses to systemically administered methotrexate. Preliminary animal and human studies have shown that small quantities of intravenously administered leucovorin enter the CSF primarily as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate and, in humans, remain 1 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than the usual methotrexate concentrations following intrathecal administration. However, high doses of leucovorin may reduce the efficacy of intrathecally administered methotrexate. Folate deficiency states may increase methotrexate toxicity.

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole has been reported rarely to increase bone marrow suppression in patients receiving methotrexate, probably by decreased tubular secretion and/or an additive antifolate effect.

Mercaptopurine

Methotrexate increases the plasma levels of mercaptopurine. The combination of Otrexup and mercaptopurine may therefore require dose adjustment.

Other Drugs

Methotrexate is partially bound to serum albumin, and toxicity may be increased because of displacement by certain drugs, such as salicylates, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, and sulfonamides. Renal tubular transport is also diminished by probenecid; use of Otrexup with this drug should be carefully monitored.

Combined use of methotrexate with gold, penicillamine, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, or cytotoxic agents, has not been studied and may increase the incidence of adverse effects.

Last reviewed on RxList: 10/25/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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