Can I Take Cold Medicine with Methotrexate?
If you are taking methotrexate, a drug commonly used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and some types of arthritis, you may wonder if it is safe to take cold medicine while on this medication. This is a valid concern as methotrexate can interact with certain over-the-counter cold medications, causing adverse effects. In this article, we will explain the interactions between methotrexate and cold medicine and provide some tips to help you manage your symptoms while on this medication.
What is Methotrexate?
Methotrexate is a powerful drug that is often used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus, and other inflammatory conditions. It is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) that works by suppressing the immune system and reducing inflammation. Methotrexate is typically taken once a week in tablet, injection or infusion form, and its use must be carefully monitored by a doctor as it can cause serious side effects.
Why is it Important to Avoid Certain Cold Medications While Taking Methotrexate?
Cold medicines can interact with methotrexate, causing adverse effects or reducing its effectiveness. Methotrexate is metabolized in the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Some cold medicines contain ingredients that can affect how the liver processes methotrexate, leading to increased levels of the drug in the body. Others can damage the liver or the kidneys, which are already under stress due to the use of methotrexate.
What Cold Medications Should I Avoid While Taking Methotrexate?
The following cold medications should be avoided while taking methotrexate:
- Nasal decongestants containing pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Zyrtec-D, Allegra-D)
- Cold and flu medications containing acetaminophen (Tylenol Cold and Flu, Dayquil)
- Cold and flu medications containing NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen (Advil Cold and Sinus, Aleve-D)
- Cough suppressants containing dextromethorphan (Robitussin, Delsym)
If you need a cold medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist for a suitable alternative that does not interact with methotrexate.
What Cold Medications are Safe to Take While on Methotrexate?
The following cold medications are considered safe to take while on methotrexate:
- Nasal saline sprays and drops
- Cold and flu medications containing guaifenesin (Robitussin Chest Congestion, Mucinex)
- Cough drops and lozenges
However, it is still important to consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any cold medication to avoid any potential interactions.
How Can I Manage Cold Symptoms When on Methotrexate?
If you have a cold while on methotrexate, you can manage your symptoms with the following non-pharmacological measures:
- Get plenty of rest and sleep
- Stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids
- Gargle with salt water to soothe a sore throat
- Use a humidifier or steam shower to help with congestion
- Use a saline nasal spray or drops to relieve a stuffy nose
If your symptoms persist or worsen, consult with your doctor to discuss additional treatment options that are safe to take while on methotrexate.
If you are taking methotrexate, it is important to be cautious when taking cold medication. Avoiding certain cold medications can help you avoid adverse effects and ensure that your methotrexate treatment remains effective. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including over-the-counter cold medicine, to avoid any potential interactions or complications.
Common Questions and Answers Related to Can I Take Cold Medicine with Methotrexate?
Q: Can I take Benadryl with methotrexate?
A: Yes, Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is considered safe to take while on methotrexate.
Q: Can I take Robitussin DM with methotrexate?
A: No, it is not recommended to take Robitussin DM (dextromethorphan and guaifenesin) while on methotrexate as it contains dextromethorphan, which can interact with methotrexate.
Q: Can I take NyQuil with methotrexate?
A: It is not recommended to take NyQuil (acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine) while on methotrexate as it contains acetaminophen and dextromethorphan, which can interact with methotrexate.
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- American College of Rheumatology. (2020). Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall). [online] Available at: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Treatments/Methotrexate-Rheumatrex-Trexall [Accessed 27 Sep. 2021].
- Arthritis Foundation. (2021). Methotrexate. [online] Available at: https://www.arthritis.org/drug-guide/methotrexate [Accessed 27 Sep. 2021].