Methotrexate packaging - a rant

I don’t normally go in for rants but, hey, never say never. On this occasion I’m prepared to make an exception.

Over 20 years ago, when I first started on methotrexate, it came in two strengths 2.5mgs and 5mgs, with the 5mgs being slightly larger and darker, and In one of those childproof containers you had to ask your kids to open for you. Not a problem.

After a while, the 5mgs were discontinued. I heard it was due to some patients confusing 5mgs and 2.5mgs. Well, maybe they could have made them different colours or created a bigger difference in sizes but no matter. By licking my forefinger I could manage to get 3-4 on it and in my mouth at a time.

More recently, they started to arrive in blister packs. Oh come on! Meth is the go-to treatment for R.A. and where does R.A. normally start? Yup, you got it – fingers. With the aid of a sharp fingernail (I score the underside of blister packs as I’ve yet to find a pill pusher that works on one size/shape let alone the variety of such that I have) With the aid of a few choice words, I made it.

Today I started a new pack. Even tinier pills and even tighter blister pack. I had to give in and ask Mr SW’s assistance.

My arthritis treatment is making me more disabled. That’s just *******s.

Ah, that’s better. I’ll get myself a nice big, soothing cuppa now. No more meth until next week.

If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
Steven Wright


  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 605

    Hi @stickywicket

    Yes those small 2.5mg pills are really difficult to get out of the blister sheet. In my case since all my other drugs come in a dossette card every week my MTX is delivered as a tagged on 25mm square blister pack sheet with 4 tiny blisters on it. My pill dispenser doesn't work for it as the sheet is too small to be held whilst holding the dispenser.

  • Fif
    Fif Member Posts: 107

    That was one of the first things I noticed when I started with methotrexate. Not only was it hellishly difficult to get them out of the blister pack, I then had to find a way of getting them to my mouth without losing any. I've got a system now and my hands aren't anything like as bad as they were at the beginning, but when you're already struggling with coming to terms with this wretched disease the last thing you need is to have your new disability highlighted by the medication that's supposed to help! Pleased to share your rant!

  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 605

    Hi @Fif

    My wife gave me a tip on how to ensure I don't lose any of the pills I take from blister packs. She works for a respite centre for autistic children so has to dispense their drugs from blister packs regularly. I first get a tray with a lip on it and place it on a flat surface. I then put a small plastic cup about 60mm diameter on the tray. Press out the blister pack into the cup and if any fail to make it into the cup they are caught by the tray lip. It saves them scuttling onto the floor.

  • noddingtonpete
    noddingtonpete Moderator Posts: 826

    @stickywicket I hear you. I've recently started a new box of Co-codamol and the blister packs are so tough I'm having to use a razor blade to cut the foil to get them out! Bring back the old bottles - blister packs can't be good for the environment either.

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 390

    Hi all,

    I don't take methotrexate but some pills are still available in good old fashioned bottles. My wonderful pharmacist supplies one of my regular ones in bottles when she can so it might be worthwhile speaking with your pharmacist.

    Tell them you can't release the pills and can they supply them loose instead I've just googled images if methotrexate and it does come in bottles.

    It probably due simply to pharmacists preferring blister packs as they're easier to dispense.

    Worth a try, if you don't ask you won't know.

    Live n hugs

    Trish xxx

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,601

    @noddingtonpete , I think I'm on the same brand of cocos as you right now. I find a Stanley knife fractionally safer than a razor blade though Mr SW can manage with only a mild swear word.

    @Trish9556 , thanks for the kind suggestions but 1. I think you're looking at an out of date website if they're still in a little brown bottle. The blister packs seemed to rock up about 3 - 4 months ago. . I did consider asking my pharmacist but I know meth is toxic and shouldn't be handled by those not taking it so I guess the blister packs are an answer to that. It was when the blister packs started hugging the pills that I lost it For now (ie for this packet) I shall engage Mr SW.. If the next packet is the same I imght ask if the pharmacist can source a different brand.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Woofy
    Woofy Member Posts: 212

    Hi Sticky.

    I feel your pain. The blister packs have gotten harder to pop. I struggle. Then I found Ability Superstore!! I’ve bought myself a few gadgets, one of which helps you pop the pills out of the blister packs. I was like a kid in a sweet shop lol. I ordered a few things

    eagerly awaiting my haul. I’ll let you know how I get on.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,020

    I am totally not averse to getting some help Stickywicket that's one of the uses spouses have, but gosh yes I agree with you @noddingtonpete be careful😮

    I do a dosette for my youngest (she has epilepsy and takes 3 different drugs) ,a monthly one, as well as my own meds. Do the meds last longer in these blister packs or something?

    and what about the harm to the environment too???

    Rant over....

  • Lindaa
    Lindaa Member Posts: 22

    I too have cocodomol. The blister packs are so tough I end up with broken tablets. As for methotrexate the little yellow devils pop out all over the place. The little plastic bottles for pills were good for keeping dead hearing aid batteries in before yaking then to recycling. At one time you could return them to pharmacy for sterilisation and reuse.