Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Gary's take on methratrexate

For anyone who has to have regular blood tests, it's important to make sure that these appointments with the phlebotomist (aka vampires) are regular and at the correct time.

Up until about two years ago, I was having four weekly blood tests, the blood tests were and still are necessary to measure such trivial things as platelets, liver function, kidney function, infection levels, bone marrow function etc. ( when I wrote "trivial" I was being flippant).

Why the need for such regular blood tests? I hear you ask, well, that's because I'm on a drug called methotrexate for my psoriatic arthritis.Methotrexate was developed in the 1940s, and has three main uses:  i) induction of abortions, ii) chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer, iii) used to dampen the immunity system in the treatment of autoimmune conditions. As you can imagine, if it's used as a chemotherapy drug then it's going to be toxic by its very nature of what it does. Hence the need for regular blood tests.

I'm lucky that my blood results are very stable, and so I was moved onto 12 weekly blood tests; while this does mean having less needles, it does mean that I have to keep track of when these blood tests are due. I use a excel spreadsheet for this, putting the date of my last blood test down and adding 84 days to that date. I'm coming to the end of my monthly prescription of this drug, so will be needing to order some more. To get my prescription, I have to have the blood test, no up-to-date blood test no medication! The beginning of next month is the next time I'll have my bloods done.

On the subject of needles, I do make a point (excuse  the pun) of having a regular flu jab in the beginning of October; since methotrexatedampens down the immunity system it makes you more susceptible to communicable diseases.

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