Rheumatoid arthritis can be a disabling disease which causes a lot of pain. It can hamper a patient from doing their daily tasks as well. Patients feel useless and dependent on others. This can cause a loss of self esteem . There are many good medications available for the treatment of this condition. However patients are very concerned about the side effects of these medications (though most medications are overwhelmingly safe). One such side effect that patients are concerned about is hair fall. Hair fall, if it occurs, could potentially worsen their self esteem further and many patients land up in depression or stop their medications.

This anxiety is usually brought on by a simple google search of the side effects of one of the main medications used which is called methotrexate. HOWEVER, the problem is there are 2 types of methotrexate LD-Methotrexate and HD-Methotrexate. Though they have the same name they are totally different with respect to how they work and their side effects as well . A Ram and Shyam or Seeta and Geeta type situation. Similar in appearance but totally different in action

ONLY LD-Methotrexate (i.e. the safe one) is used by rheumatologists. There is research to show that LD-Methotrexate is very very very safe (in contrast to HD-Methotrexate). Patients get confused between the 2 and get scared unnecessarily. In addition to serious side effects, HD-Methotrexate also causes a lot of hair fall. Till now doctors knew that LD-Methotrexate is very safe and does not cause serious side effects like HD-Methotrexate. However they did not know if LD-Methotrexate caused “minor” side effects like hairfall or not.

Research done by Dr Sharath Kumar from Optima Arthritis And Rehumatology clinic Bangalore has shown that LD-Methotrexate does not cause hair fall. The research was presented in the EUROPEAN rheumatology conference in MADRID SPAIN recently. There was no difference in average hair fall between patients before starting LD-Methotrexate versus after starting LD-Methtorexate. In addition when hair fall in patients on LD-Methotrexate was compared to normal hospital employees and normal family members, there was no difference.

So that is one more reassuring fact about the safety of LD-Methotrexate.

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