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How quickly does the weekly injection of methotrexate leave your body?

I've had to pause my injections due to Covid. My doctor recommended that I do this until I become asymptomatic.

Meanwhile, I'd like to use this time to get an IPL treatment (intense pulse light), which I couldn't do if I was actively taking the drug. I've been off MTX now for 2 weeks. Do you think it's safe? My RA doctor doesn't know the answer for sure. Anyone have experience with this?

On another separate note, my RA symptoms went away while I was having Covid. I wonder if it was because my body had something to legitimately fight against.

Thanks for helping me with the IPL question.

  1. Hi, !

    I wish I could give you a straight answer on the Methotrexate question, but I am in the same boat as your rheumatologist and I would defer to what he/she thinks. It's really hard to say for sure. I've seen estimates from 3 to 82 hours. But, that's just in reference to having a single dose metabolize and leave your system. I think you are thinking more about the long term effects methotrexate may have had on your body and how long it takes your body to bounce back from those (ie weakened immune system, hair loss, etc). And, again, I don't have a firm answer on that. It really seems to vary from person-to-person.

    I know. This is NOT a helpful answer!

    How do you feel like your body is responding after being off methotrexate for two weeks? That might be a better gauge than any answer I could give you.

    And, on the other topic, I think it's pretty interesting that your MS symptoms receded while you were battling Covid. There is some evidence that shows that many women with MS go into a form of a 'remission' when they are pregnant. Now, I don't want to equate pregnancy with illness, but I wonder if our bodies do just prioritize what they can handle and when. And, since MS is an autoimmune condition, it stands to reason that the immune system can only focus on so much at a time. But, I am just hypothesizing on this.

    I do hope IPL treatment works well for you and I would love if you would come back and fill us in on how it goes, if you don't mind doing so.

    Best, Erin, Team Member.

    1. , whoops! That was my mistake! So sorry about that. I know some women experience a decrease in RA symptoms while pregnant, too, but not always. But, yes, you can totally disregard my novel about MS there!

      Thank you for the clarification. And again, I don't have a great answer. Methotrexate apparently doesn't cause sun sensitivity, but radiation reactivity. Which means that you may experience a rash in areas that were previously sunburned.

      But again, I just can't say for sure if the Methotrexate has cleared your system enough for it to be safe to try IPL. Do you think a dermatologist would have a better guess, perhaps?

      Best, Erin, Team Member.

    2. Thanks. Yes, I read the same about previous burns but I haven't experienced that...and I'm from the age when we used baby oil as suntan lotion! So maybe it's ok. I'm waiting to hear from the practitioner. I'll keep you posted.

  2. Hi . The question on how long methotrexate stays in the system is really one about the half-life of the drug. This article does a pretty good job of explaining it for methotrexate: I would add even more emphatically the caveats about dosage, duration, metabolism, and impact of other medications.
    Concerning RA symptoms and RA, my wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here), had the same experience with her symptoms improving. She wrote about it here: Her doctor thought the same thing you mentioned about the immune system having something legitimate to attack. It actually raises an interesting question about whether the immune system can be tricked into thinking there is something else to focus on to get it to stop attacking the body. COVID is actually spurring a surprising amount of research that may also have implications for autoimmune treatments. Best, Richard ( Team)

    1. Thanks for sharing your wife's experience and her article (the reference to a dumpster fight made me laugh). I'll

      I'm unable to find an article discussing possible new therapies that would "trick" the system into not fighting the disease. Meanwhile, here's an unrelated but interesting article about why women are more likely to have autoimmune diseases and it may related to our chromosomes.

  3. Wanted to share my update about the IPL treatment. My last MTX injection was on Feb 15 and my treatment was on February 29. I didn't have any adverse effects afterward. No excessive burn or any side effects. That was my experience.

    1. Appreciate the update, and good to hear that you didn't have any adverse effects. Now we just have to see how well it ends up controlling the rheumatoid arthritis! Keep on keepin' on, DPM

    2. oh that's so great! We really appreciate you coming back to share your experience. Is the IPL treatment just a one time thing? And will you be going back on the methotrexate? Again, thanks again for checking back in and letting us know how it all went for you! -- Warmly, Christine (Team Member)

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