Methotrexate is given weekly as an intramuscular injection of 15 to 25 mg. Side effects are rare and include leukopenia and hypersensitivity interstitial pneumonitis. Hepatic fibrosis is the most severe potential sequela of long-term therapy. Patients with concomitant alcohol abuse and/or morbid obesity are more likely to develop hepatic fibrosis and therefore should not be treated with methotrexate. It is prudent to obtain a baseline chest radiograph and to monitor complete blood count, liver function and renal function every two weeks until the patient is receiving oral therapy, and every one to three months thereafter. Before methotrexate therapy is initiated, the risks of treatment and the possible need for a liver biopsy should be discussed with the patient.
Osteoporosis is particularly common in smokers, postmenopausal women, the elderly, underweight or immobile, and patients with diabetes or lung problems. Osteoporosis may result in fractures of the spine, ribs or hip joint with minimal trauma. These occur after the first year in 10–20% of patients treated with more than mg prednisone daily. It is estimated that up to 50% of patients on long-term prednisone will develop bone fractures. Vertebral fractures are more common in patients on steroids, even in those with normal bone density.
The most commonly reported side effects were: oral thrush , nausea , headache , and pain in the pharynx or larynx . More rarely reported side effects (occurring in <1% of patients during the clinical trial) include: tachycardia , palpitations , dry mouth , allergic reaction ( bronchospasm , dermatitis , hives ), pharyngitis , muscle spasms , tremor , dizziness , insomnia , nervousness , and hypertension . Patients experiencing an allergic reaction or increase in difficulty breathing while using this medication should immediately discontinue its use and contact their physician.