Methotrexate inhibits dihydrofolic acid reductase. Dihydrofolates must be reduced to tetrahydrofolates by this enzyme before they can be utilized as carriers of one-carbon groups in the synthesis of purine nucleotides and thymidylate. Therefore, methotrexate interferes with DNA synthesis, repair, and cellular replication. Actively proliferating tissues such as malignant cells, bone marrow, fetal cells, buccal and intestinal mucosa, and cells of the urinary bladder are in general more sensitive to this effect of methotrexate.
The mechanism of action in rheumatoid arthritis is unknown; it may affect immune function.
Rheumatoid Arthritis including Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic
Methotrexate injection is indicated in the management of selected adults with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (ACR criteria), or children with active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA), who have had an insufficient therapeutic response to, or are intolerant of, an adequate trial of first-line therapy including full dose non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs).
Methotrexate injection is indicated in adults for the symptomatic control of severe, recalcitrant, disabling psoriasis that is not adequately responsive to other forms of therapy, but only when the diagnosis has been established, as by biopsy and/or after dermatologic consultation. It is important to ensure that a psoriasis “flare” is not due to an undiagnosed concomitant disease affecting immune responses.
Limitation of Use
Methotrexate injection is not indicated for the treatment of neoplastic diseases.