Definition - What does Methotrexate mean?

Methotrexate is a medication administered to treat an ectopic pregnancy. The medication works by attacking cells and preventing them from dividing, halting further growth. While typically used to treat cancer, methotrexate is used as an alternative to surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancies.

FertilitySmarts explains Methotrexate

Methotrexate is provided via injection. After administered, medical monitoring of the pregnancy hormone, hCG is conducted. Within 2-4 days the hCG levels should begin to decrease. The medication may induce moderate cramping or abdominal pain along with vaginal bleeding. The hCG testing should continue for 2-3 weeks to confirm the pregnancy was prevented. Side effects of the medication include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Redness at injection site

Men and women should postpone attempting another pregnancy or engaging in unprotected intercourse for 3 months following a methotrexate regimen as the medication can cause severe birth defects in fetuses.

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