Partner is just starting on Methotrexate

Carling33 Member Posts: 3
My partner is just starting to take Methotrexate for the first time for his RA. Whilst I understand that the immune system can be reduced whilst taking the medication and that you should be careful with infections etc, he seems adamant that he should have very little contact with people and children specifically.Is this not a bit OTT?
He is retired so is at home most of the time. I work and have 3 grandchildren whom I visit. I will of course not visit if they are unwell, as i would do normally. But he is adamant that he doesn't want them visiting :? :? :? :?


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Carling33,

    Welcome to the forum, it's good of you to help keep your partner as well as possible, especially when starting a medication which lowers the immune system. Is your partner new to RA?

    This is taken from the website

    DMARDs can take several weeks to start working, so it is important to keep taking them, even if you do not experience any benefit straight away. It can take weeks, or even months, for their full effects to be felt.

    As with all medications, there can be side effects, but these are hard to predict, as they will vary, depending on the individual, the condition, and the particular drug taken. Your doctor will discuss potential side effects with you and answer any questions you may have.

    Because DMARDs affect your immune system, you may be more susceptible to infection and other side effects. Tell your doctor or rheumatology nurse immediately if you:

    develop a sore throat, fever, bruising, bleeding or any other new symptoms
    come into contact with anyone who has a highly infectious illness, such as chickenpox or shingles, or if you develop these conditions.

    The Department of Health recommends that anyone taking immunosuppressants and steroids should have annual flu and pneumonia vaccinations. It is very important to discuss immunisation with your GP before starting any immunosuppressant medication.

    From this you can see why your partner is worried, however remember many people on these drugs go out to work, have families and manage perfectly well.

    It might be sensible to review basic hygiene- maybe start using hand gel regularly to keep the possibility of infection to a minimum.

    Let us know how you get on
    Take care
    Yvonne x
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,101
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Carling33. I'm not a member of the Helpline team just an ordinary forum member who has been taking methotrexate for about 18 years.

    I do take extra care with hygiene and keep antibac gel in the car as I reckong supermarket trolleys, hospitals and GP surgeries are probably some of the 'germiest' places around. I also get my flu jab in as early as possible every year ie before any flu arrives but also before colds begin as it's not a good idea to have the jab while harbouring a cold. Owing to a nasty chest infection I'd to cancel three times before I finally got mine last November.

    Children are little germ factories. They do pick things up readily and spread them about generously. Chicken pox must definitely be avoided but, that apart, we just have to be naturally cautious. All my friends and family know that, much as I love them, I don't want them near me if they have the sneezles. Of course, these things can't always be avoided and grandchildren certainly can't be avoided completely. The idea of the meds is to improve our quality of life not to destroy it by making us into hermits.

    Quite honestly, I do think your partner is being a bit OTT about this. I suspect he, like very many others, has read the leaflet and is extremely scared but, being a bloke, doesn't want to admit this. The potential side effects can, indeed, sound scary but they are only potential and most people, like me, manage very well indeed without them. I'd guess, and hope, that, in time, with the methotrexate working and no nasty side effects apparent, he will come round to a more natural way of living with both the disease and the medication. Being a couch potato will certainly not help as arthritic joints need exercising at least as much as non-arthritic ones. Fresh air is relatively germ-free. Maybe he'd be willing to go for walks with others, play golf or whatever he used to do. Meanwhile perhaps you could encourage him to talk about how he feels about the whole thing. If he has previously been healthy this will have come as a frightening bolt from the blue.
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,779
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Carling 33
    I posted a reply to your thread earlier, but it seems to have vanished! (the gremlins must have got me.)
    Thanks to Yvonne and Stickywicket.
    Firstly the avoidances: (Source is ARUK's rheumatoid arthritis booklet) 'A number of DMARDs affect the immune system so you'll be more likely to pick up infections. You should take extra care with food preparation and try to avoid close contact with people with active infections such as chickenpox or shingles.'
    It may be worth discussing his concerns with the GP, rheumatology nurse (or you or your partner would be welcome to have a chat with us at Helplines.) Sometimes it is worth talking things over in an atmosphere of support, and see if that will be helpful.
    Kind regards
  • Carling33
    Carling33 Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for all your replies, he had his first does on Friday and has had no side effects, he walks every day, is an ex nurse haha. I'm a chef and always careful with food hygiene. I will get some anti bacterial soap for the car, good idea, I do have hand wipes in the car. t4591 t4591 t4591
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,101
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That's a very good start and I'm sure the walking will be good for him.

    Nurses are the worst for fearing meds :wink: They probably come up against the consequences of the bad side-effects but rarely see anyone who's doing really well on them. I hope things will continue to go well for both of you.

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