Written by: Arvie Florencio
After giving birth to my first child, my skin has always been inflamed. I came to a point where steroid creams and ointments do not seem to work anymore. I was at my wits end and desperately wanted some relief from all the itch and pain. I went to the doctor and got told that the next step is to take methotrexate, something that I would take orally.
I have never taken oral medications to manage my psoriasis. I always tried to stay away from it as my mom would always discourage me from doing so. But now that the only prescription for me was to go on methotrexate, I started to really think about the pros and cons of taking this medication.
In the end, I decided not to take it and here are my reasons.
It will make me feel unwell
As I’ve heard from my doctor and from people who’ve taken methotrexate, taking this drug can make me feel nauseous, fatigued, and lose appetite. As a mom, having lots of energy is a must as I have to juggle all the chores and work I have to do everyday. I cannot afford to feel sick, even sicker than how I’m feeling now. It frustrates me to think that for my skin to look well, I have to endure feeling sick all the time with this medication.
It will weaken my immune system
My immune system is already out of whack given my inflamed skin, but taking medications to further weaken and disrupt it would definitely cause more harm for my overall health. It will reduce my body’s ability to fight infections. My skin’s barrier has already weakened so much due to psoriasis and all the steroid creams and ointments, and I am not willing to make my internal immune system further weaken due to this drug.
It can give me liver problems
I was advised by my doctor that once I take methotrexate, I would need to do blood tests regularly to check my liver. Thinking that my internal organs would be affected by this drug made me really scared to take it. What if I really suffer liver problems due to this? Would liver problems be better than having ‘good’ skin? And what if my psoriasis never goes away and I then have to also deal with liver problems? I could never comprehend that situation in my head.
It can cause birth defects
My husband and I still want to grow our family. Taking care of my health is not just for me, but also for my family and future children. Methotrexate can cause birth abnormalities. Even if I do stop taking methotrexate, I wouldn’t know if traces of it will remain in my body and for how long. I just don’t want to take that risk for my child. If there’s something I can do now to give them the best chance at life, I would do it. And not taking methotrexate is something I can do.
It can cause your psoriasis to come back 10x worse
I have heard a lot of real stories from people who have taken methotrexate. Some people went through the whole course of medications, and some stopped midway due to the negative side effects. However, their psoriasis came back and it came back a whole lot worse than before. I am not saying that methotrexate will make your psoriasis worse, but taking this very strong drug may only be a temporary relief. Once you’re out of this medication, there is a possibility of psoriasis coming back because this drug did not treat psoriasis itself.
I know that for some people, this is the only drug that can help. I am no medical professional and I am not saying that you shouldn’t take it. This is a personal choice I chose to take, and who knows… maybe someday, this drug would be improved and all these negative impacts would be close to zero probability. And I really hope that someday, new and improved medications will be available for us who suffer from chronic skin conditions. For now, let’s be more mindful of the different treatments being offered to us. Really knowing the risks of these drugs will help us take better control of our health and can save us from suffering from unnecessary negative side effects. I truly wish you can find some relief in your current condition. Stay strong.