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Methotrexate is a type of medicine that stops cells from dividing. It can be used as a way (other than surgery) to treat a pregnancy that’s implanted outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy). It’s given by injection with a needle. Usually you will get just 1 dose given.
You will need to have blood tests to monitor the level of pregnancy hormone in your blood. The methotrexate will stop the pregnancy. The level of pregnancy hormone in your blood should go down over 2 to 4 days. Based on your blood test results, your doctor will tell you if you need another injection of methotrexate.
After you get methotrexate, you may have:
Your doctor will likely want you to have a blood test 2 to 3 times a week, for 2 to 3 weeks. This is to see if the methotrexate worked to stop the pregnancy.
Side effects of methotrexate may include:
If you feel sick to your stomach, sip clear fluids like ginger ale or soup broth. Try to drink often and eat small amounts of dry, starchy food (like soda crackers or dry toast) every 15 minutes.
To help prevent mouth sores:
If you need to take pain medicine for symptoms like headache or cramping, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol). If the acetaminophen doesn’t help, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about what medicine you can take for your symptoms.
To help relax the muscles that cause cramping, you can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad. Make sure you put a cloth between your skin and the heat, so you don’t get a burn. Taking hot baths can also help.
Call 911 if you have:
Call your doctor or nurse call line (811 in most provinces or territories) now if you have:
You must not get pregnant for at least 3 months after having a methotrexate injection. If you have sex, you will need to use a reliable method of birth control. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you have questions about birth control.
Washing your hands with soap and water after you go to the bathroom is important. Methotrexate can make your immune system weaker, which means it’s harder for your body to fight infections.
After getting methotrexate, do not have:
After getting methotrexate, do not take:
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=custom.ab_pregnancy_ectopic_methotrexate_inst.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: May 17, 2023
Author: Emergency Medicine, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.