A chemotherapy drug called methotrexate is most frequently used for this type of treatment. It causes the trophoblastic cells to die away. This drug is given as an intra-muscular injection on alternate days over one week. You will also be given a folinic acid tablet to take on the days between the injections. This is a ‘rescue’ medication to help protect the normal body tissue from the effects of methotrexate. It is very important that you take this tablet 30 hours after your methotrexate injection. In one cycle of treatment, you will have four injections and four folinic acid tablets, making a total of eight days. After each cycle of treatment, you will have a six day rest before commencing the next course.
Are there any side effects associated with Low Risk Treatment:
Methotrexate is generally well tolerated and the side effects are often quite minimal.
You are encouraged drink three litres of fluid (such as water, tea or fruit juice) per day. This will help flush the methotrexate through your kidneys which will prevent or greatly reduce the risk of getting a sore mouth. You should brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush three times a day and floss regularly. We will also give you some Corsodyl mouthwash to use after every meal and before you go to bed.
Your eyes may feel ‘gritty’. We can provide eye drops to relieve this. You should avoid wearing contact lenses during this time.
It is possible you may feel sick. We can give you some anti sickness tablets if needed.
Abdominal (Tummy) pain
This may feel like a period pain. The doctor on the ward will prescribe painkillers to help with this.
Some women experience pain in their chest, particularly on deep breathing. This can be relieved by painkillers and will resolve once all the treatment is finished.
As with all chemotherapy, there can be a tendency for your blood count to drop. Although with this type of treatment the risk is minimal, it is routine to check the full blood count before each course of treatment.
These side effects are not necessarily going to affect you, but it is important that you are aware of what could happen. Please inform the nurse or doctor if you experience any of these symptoms so they can treat you promptly.
It is important to note that you will remain fertile and will not lose your hair on this “low risk” treatment.