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The authors make no claims of the accuracy of the information contained herein; and these suggested doses and/or guidelines are not a substitute for clinical judgment. Neither GlobalRPh Inc. nor any other party involved in the preparation of this document shall be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting in whole or part from any user's use of or reliance upon this material.    PLEASE READ THE DISCLAIMER CAREFULLY BEFORE ACCESSING OR USING THIS SITE. BY ACCESSING OR USING THIS SITE, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN THE DISCLAIMER.

Drug:   Methotrexate

Usual Diluents

D5W,   NS

Dilution Data


DILUTION SUMMARY

[Amount of drug] [Infusion volume] [Infusion rate]
Sample dilutions:

Syringe:
[0-100 mg] [leq 25 mg/ml] [5 minutes - into free flowing IV D5W or NS]
[100-300 mg] [leq 25 mg/ml] [15 minutes into free flowing IV D5W or NS]


IV admixture:
[100 - 200 mg] [50 - 100ml] [30-60 minutes]
[200 - 500 mg] [250 - 500ml] [30 - 120 minutes]
[>500 mg] [500 - 1000ml] [1 - 4 hours]

[High dose > 1 gram/m2] [1000 ml] [2 - 4 hours - follow local
    protocol]

Review hydration and leucovorin use below:
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION



DILUTION INSTRUCTIONS:

Methotrexate Injection, USP, Isotonic Liquid, Contains Preservative 1
If desired, the solution may be further diluted with a compatible medium such as Sodium Chloride Injection, USP. Storage for 24 hours at a temperature of 21°C to 25°C results in a product which is within 90% of label potency.

Methotrexate Injection, USP, Isotonic Liquid, Preservative Free, for Single Use Only 1
If desired, the solution may be further diluted immediately prior to use with an appropriate sterile, preservative free medium such as 5% Dextrose Solution, USP or Sodium Chloride Injection, USP.

Reconstitution of Lyophilized Powders: Reconstitute immediately prior to use.
Methotrexate for injection should be reconstituted with an appropriate sterile, preservative free medium such as 5% dextrose solution, USP or sodium chloride injection, USP. The 1 gram vial should be reconstituted with 19.4 mL to a concentration of 50 mg/mL.   Dilute 20 mg and 50 mg vials to a concentration leq25 mg/ml.   When high doses of methotrexate are administered by IV infusion, the total dose is diluted in 5% dextrose solution, USP.1

For intrathecal injection, reconstitute to a concentration of 1 mg/mL with an appropriate sterile, preservative free medium such as sodium chloride injection, USP.1

Store at controlled room temperature, 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15° to 30°C (59° to 86°F). PROTECT FROM LIGHT. 1


Alternative reference 2:    Administration routes:  IM, IT, SQ,
    IV [ may be as slow push, short bolus infusion, or 24 to 42 hour continuous infusion].

Storage:  Admixtures diluted in D5W or NS are stable for 24 hours at room temperature (21°C to 25°C). Reconstituted solutions with a preservative may be stored under refrigeration for up to 3 months, and up to 4 weeks at room temperature.


(Usual concentration range:  0.4 - 2 mg/mL)


Stability / Miscellaneous

WARNINGS CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY INDICATIONS
CONTRAINDICATIONS DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION HOW SUPPLIED
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WARNINGS
METHOTREXATE SHOULD BE USED ONLY BY PHYSICIANS WHOSE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE INCLUDE THE USE OF ANTIMETABOLITE THERAPY. BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SERIOUS TOXIC REACTIONS (WHICH CAN BE FATAL):METHOTREXATE SHOULD BE USED ONLY IN LIFE THREATENING NEOPLASTIC DISEASES, OR IN PATIENTS WITH PSORIASIS OR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS WITH SEVERE, RECALCITRANT, DISABLING DISEASE WHICH IS NOT ADEQUATELY RESPONSIVE TO OTHER FORMS OF THERAPY.
DEATHS HAVE BEEN REPORTED WITH THE USE OF METHOTREXATE IN THE TREATMENT OF MALIGNANCY, PSORIASIS, AND RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS.

PATIENTS SHOULD BE CLOSELY MONITORED FOR BONE MARROW, LIVER, LUNG AND KIDNEY TOXICITIES. (See PRECAUTIONS).
PATIENTS SHOULD BE INFORMED BY THEIR PHYSICIAN OF THE RISKS INVOLVED AND BE UNDER A PHYSICIAN’S CARE THROUGHOUT THERAPY.

THE USE OF METHOTREXATE HIGH DOSE REGIMENS RECOMMENDED FOR OSTEOSARCOMA REQUIRES METICULOUS CARE. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.) HIGH DOSE REGIMENS FOR OTHER NEOPLASTIC DISEASES ARE INVESTIGATIONAL AND A THERAPEUTIC ADVANTAGE HAS NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED. METHOTREXATE FORMULATIONS AND DILUENTS CONTAINING PRESERVATIVES MUST NOT BE USED FOR INTRATHECAL OR HIGH DOSE METHOTREXATE THERAPY.
  1. Methotrexate has been reported to cause fetal death and/or congenital anomalies.Therefore, it is not recommended for women of childbearing potential unless there is clear medical evidence that the benefits can be expected to outweigh the considered risks. Pregnant women with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis should not receive methotrexate. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS).

  2. Methotrexate elimination is reduced in patients with impaired renal functions, ascites, or pleural effusions. Such patients require especially careful monitoring for toxicity, and require dose reduction or, in some cases, discontinuation of methotrexate administration.

  3. Unexpectedly severe (sometimes fatal) bone marrow suppression, aplastic anemia, and gastrointestinal toxicity have been reported with concomitant administration of methotrexate (usually in high dosage) along with some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). (See PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).

  4. Methotrexate causes hepatotoxicity, fibrosis and cirrhosis, but generally only after prolonged use. Acutely, liver enzyme elevations are frequently seen. These are usually transient and asymptomatic, and also do not appear predictive of subsequent hepatic disease. Liver biopsy after sustained use often shows histologic changes, and fibrosis and cirrhosis have been reported; these latter lesions may not be preceded by symptoms or abnormal liver function tests in the psoriasis population. For this reason, periodic liver biopsies are usually recommended for psoriatic patients who are under long-term treatment. Persistent abnormalities in liver function tests may precede appearance of fibrosis or cirrhosis in the rheumatoid arthritis population. (See PRECAUTIONS, Organ System Toxicity, Hepatic).

  5. Methotrexate-induced lung disease, including acute or chronic interstitial pneumonitis, is a potentially dangerous lesion, which may occur acutely at any time during therapy and has been reported at low doses. It is not always fully reversible and fatalities have been reported. Pulmonary symptoms (especially a dry, nonproductive cough) may require interruption of treatment and careful investigation.

  6. Diarrhea and ulcerative stomatitis require interruption of therapy: otherwise, hemorrhagic enteritis and death from intestinal perforation may occur.

  7. Malignant lymphomas, which may regress following withdrawal of methotrexate, may occur in patients receiving low-dose methotrexate and, thus, may not require cytotoxic treatment. Discontinue methotrexate first and, if the lymphoma does not regress, appropriate treatment should be instituted.

  8. Like other cytotoxic drugs, methotrexate may induce“tumor lysis syndrome” in patients with rapidly growing tumors. Appropriate supportive and pharmacologic measures may prevent or alleviate this complication.

  9. Severe, occasionally fatal, skin reactions have been reported following single or multiple doses of methotrexate. Reactions have occurred within days of oral, intramuscular, intravenous, or intrathecal methotrexate administration. Recovery has been reported with discontinuation of therapy. (See PRECAUTIONS, Organ System Toxicity, Skin.)

  10. Potentially fatal opportunistic infections, especially Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, may occur with methotrexate therapy.

  11. Methotrexate given concomitantly with radiotherapy may increase the risk of soft tissue necrosis and osteonecrosis.



DESCRIPTION
Methotrexate (formerly Amethopterin) is an antimetabolite used in the treatment of certain neoplastic diseases, severe psoriasis, and adult rheumatoid arthritis.

Chemically methotrexate is N-[4-[[(2,4-diamino-6-pteridinyl) methyl]methylamino]benzoyl]-L-glutamic acid.

Methotrexate Injection, USP is sterile and non-pyrogenic and may be given by the intramuscular, intravenous or intra-arterial route. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). However, the preserved formulation contains Benzyl Alcohol and must not be used for intrathecal or high dose therapy.

Methotrexate Injection, USP Isotonic Liquid, Contains Preservative is available in 25 mg/mL, 2 mL (50 mg) vials.

Each 25 mg/mL, 2 mL vial contains methotrexate sodium equivalent to 50 mg methotrexate, 0.9% w/v of Benzyl Alcohol as a preservative, and the following inactive ingredients: Sodium Chloride 0.260% w/v and Water for Injection qs ad 100% v. Sodium Hydroxide and, if necessary, Hydrochloric Acid are added to adjust the pH to approximately 8.5.

Methotrexate Injection, USP, Isotonic Liquid, Preservative Free, for single use only, is available in 10 mg/mL, 2 mL (20 mg) vials and 25 mg/mL, 20 mL (500 mg), 40 mL (1 g) and 100 mL (2.5 g) vials.

Each 10 mg/mL, 2 mL vial contains methotrexate sodium equivalent to 20 mg methotrexate, and the following inactive ingredients: Sodium Chloride 0.70% w/v. Sodium Hydroxide and, if necessary, Hydrochloric Acid are added to adjust the pH to approximately 8.5.

Each 25 mg/mL, 20 mL, 40 mL and 100 mL vial contains methotrexate sodium equivalent to 500 mg, 1 g and 2.5 g methotrexate, respectively, and the following inactive ingredients: Sodium Chloride 0.490% w/v. Sodium Hydroxide and, if necessary, Hydrochloric Acid are added to adjust the pH to approximately 8.5.


CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY
Methotrexate inhibits dihydrofolic acid reductase. Dihydrofolates must be reduced to tetrahydrofolates by this enzyme before they can be utilized as carriers of one-carbon groups in the synthesis of purine nucleotides and thymidylate. Therefore, methotrexate interferes with DNA synthesis, repair, and cellular replication. Actively proliferating tissues such as malignant cells, bone marrow, fetal cells, buccal and intestinal mucosa, and cells of the urinary bladder are in general more sensitive to this effect of methotrexate. When cellular proliferation in malignant tissues is greater than in most normal tissues, methotrexate may impair malignant growth without irreversible damage to normal tissues.

The mechanism of action in rheumatoid arthritis is unknown; it may affect immune function. Two reports describe in vitro methotrexate inhibition of DNA precursor uptake by stimulated mononuclear cells, and another describes in animal polyarthritis partial correction by methotrexate of spleen cell hyporesponsiveness and suppressed IL 2 production. Other laboratories, however, have been unable to demonstrate similar effects. Clarification of methotrexate’s effect on immune activity and its relation to rheumatoid immunopathogenesis await further studies.

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, effects of methotrexate on articular swelling and tenderness can be seen as early as 3 to 6 weeks. Although methotrexate clearly ameliorates symptoms of inflammation (pain, swelling, stiffness), there is no evidence that it induces remission of rheumatoid arthritis nor has a beneficial effect been demonstrated on bone erosions and other radiologic changes which result in impaired joint use, functional disability, and deformity.

Most studies of methotrexate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis are relatively short term (3 to 6 months). Limited data from long-term studies indicate that an initial clinical improvement is maintained for at least two years with continued therapy.

In psoriasis, the rate of production of epithelial cells in the skin is greatly increased over normal skin. This differential in proliferation rates is the basis for the use of methotrexate to control the psoriatic process.

Methotrexate in high doses, followed by leucovorin rescue, is used as a part of the treatment of patients with non-metastatic osteosarcoma. The original rationale for high dose methotrexate therapy was based on the concept of selective rescue of normal tissues by leucovorin. More recent evidence suggests that high dose methotrexate may also overcome methotrexate resistance caused by impaired active transport, decreased affinity of dihydrofolic acid reductase for methotrexate, increased levels of dihydrofolic acid reductase resulting from geneamplification, or decreased polyglutamation of methotrexate. The actual mechanism of action is unknown.

Pharmacokinetics
Absorption- In adults, oral absorption appears to be dose dependent. Peak serum levels are reached within one to two hours. At doses of 30 mg/m2 or less, methotrexate is generally well absorbed with a mean bioavailability of about 60%. The absorption of doses greater than 80 mg/m2 is significantly less, possibly due to a saturation effect.

In leukemic pediatric patients, oral absorption of methotrexate also appears to be dose dependent and has been reported to vary widely (23% to 95%). A twenty fold difference between highest and lowest peak levels (Cmax: 0.11 to 2.3 micromolar after a 20 mg/m2 dose) has been reported. Significant interindividual variability has also been noted in time to peak concentration (Tmax: 0.67 to 4 hrs after a 15 mg/m2 dose) and fraction of dose absorbed. The absorption of doses greater than 40 mg/m2 has been reported to be significantly less than that of lower doses. Food has been shown to delay absorption and reduce peak concentration. Methotrexate is generally completely absorbed from parenteral routes of injection. After intramuscular injection, peak serum concentrations occur in 30 to 60 minutes. As in leukemic pediatric patients, a wide interindividual variability in the plasma concentrations of methotrexate has been reported in pediatric patients with JRA. Following oral administration of methotrexate in doses of 6.4 to 11.2 mg/m2/week in pediatric patients with JRA, mean serum concentrations were 0.59 micromolar (range, 0.03 to 1.40) at 1 hour, 0.44 micromolar (range, 0.01 to 1.00) at 2 hours, and 0.29 micromolar (range, 0.06 to 0.58) at 3 hours. In pediatric patients receiving methotrexate for acute lymphocytic leukemia (6.3 to 30 mg/m2), or for JRA (3.75 to 26.2 mg/m2), the terminal half-life has been reported to range from 0.7 to 5.8 hours or 0.9 to 2.3 hours, respectively.

Distribution- After intravenous administration, the initial volume of distribution is approximately 0.18 L/kg (18% of body weight) and steady-state volume of distribution is approximately 0.4 to 0.8 L/kg (40 to 80% of body weight). Methotrexate competes with reduced folates for active transport across cell membranes by means of a single carrier-mediated active transport process. At serum concentrations greater than 100 micromolar, passive diffusion becomes a major pathway by which effective intracellular concentrations can be achieved. Methotrexate in serum is approximately 50% protein bound. Laboratory studies demonstrate that it may be displaced from plasma albumin by various compounds including sulfonamides, salicylates, tetracyclines, chloramphenicol, and phenytoin.

Methotrexate does not penetrate the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier in therapeutic amounts when given orally or parenterally. High CSF concentrations of the drug may be attained by intrathecal administration.

In dogs, synovial fluid concentrations after oral dosing were higher in inflamed than uninflamed joints. Although salicylates did not interfere with this penetration, prior prednisone treatment reduced penetration into inflamed joints to the level of normal joints.

Metabolism- After absorption, methotrexate undergoes hepatic and intracellular metabolism to polyglutamated forms which can be converted back to methotrexate by hydrolase enzymes. These polyglutamates act as inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductase and thymidylate synthetase. Small amounts of methotrexate polyglutamates may remain in tissues for extended periods. The retention and prolonged drug action of these active metabolites vary among different cells, tissues and tumors. A small amount of metabolism to 7-hydroxymethotrexate may occur at doses commonly prescribed. Accumulation of this metabolite may become significant at the high doses used in osteogenic sarcoma. The aqueous solubility of 7-hydroxymethotrexate is 3 to 5 fold lower than the parent compound. Methotrexate is partially metabolized by intestinal flora after oral administration.

Half-Life - The terminal half-life reported for methotrexate is approximately three to ten hours for patients receiving treatment for psoriasis, or rheumatoid arthritis or low dose antineoplastic therapy (less than 30 mg/m2). For patients receiving high doses of methotrexate, the terminal half-life is eight to 15 hours.

Excretion - Renal excretion is the primary route of elimination and is dependent upon dosage and route of administration. With IV administration, 80% to 90% of the administered dose is excreted unchanged in the urine within 24 hours. There is limited biliary excretion amounting to 10% or less of the administered dose. Enterohepatic recirculation of methotrexate has been proposed.

Renal excretion occurs by glomerular filtration and active tubular secretion. Nonlinear elimination due to saturation of renal tubular reabsorption has been observed in psoriatic patients at doses between 7.5 and 30 mg. Impaired renal function, as well as concurrent use of drugs such as weak organic acids that also undergo tubular secretion, can markedly increase methotrexate serum levels. Excellent correlation has been reported between methotrexate clearance and endogenous creatinine clearance.

Methotrexate clearance rates vary widely and are generally at higher doses. Delayed drug clearance has been identified as one of the major factors responsible for methotrexate toxicity. It has been postulated that the toxicity of methotrexate for normal tissues is more dependent upon the duration of exposure to the drug rather than the peak level achieved. When a patient has delayed drug elimination due to compromised renal function, a third space effusion, or other causes, methotrexate serum concentrations may remain elevated for prolonged periods.

The potential for toxicity from high dose regimens or delayed excretion is reduced by the administration of leucovorin calcium during the final phase of methotrexate plasma elimination.

Pharmacokinetic monitoring of methotrexate serum concentrations may help identify those patients at high risk for methotrexate toxicity and aid in proper adjustments of leucovorin dosing. Guidelines for monitoring serum methotrexate levels, and for adjustment of leucovorin dosing to reduce the risk of methotrexate toxicity, are provided below in DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.

Methotrexate has been detected in human breast milk. The highest breast milk to plasma concentration ratio reached was 0.08:1.


INDICATIONS AND USAGE
Neoplastic Diseases
Methotrexate is indicated in the treatment of gestational choriocarcinoma, chorioadenoma destruens and hydatidiform mole.

In acute lymphocytic leukemia, methotrexate is indicated in the prophylaxis of meningeal leukemia and is used in maintenance therapy in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents. Methotrexate is also indicated in the treatment of meningeal leukemia.

Methotrexate is used alone or in combination with other anticancer agents in the treatment of breast cancer, epidermoid cancers of the head and neck, advanced mycosis fungoides (cutaneous T cell lymphoma), and lung cancer, particularly squamous cell and small cell types. Methotrexate is also used in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of advanced stage non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

Methotrexate in high doses followed by leucovorin rescue in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents is effective in prolonging relapse-free survival in patients with non-metastatic osteosarcoma who have undergone surgical resection or amputation for the primary tumor.

Psoriasis
Methotrexate is indicated in the symptomatic control of severe, recalcitrant, disabling psoriasis that is not adequately responsive to other forms of therapy, but only when the diagnosis has been established, as by biopsy and/or after dermatologic consultation. It is important to ensure that a psoriasis “flare” is not due to an undiagnosed concomitant disease affecting immune responses.

Rheumatoid Arthritis including Polyarticular-Course Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Methotrexate is indicated in the management of selected adults with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis (ACR criteria), or children with active polyarticular-course juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, who have had an insufficient therapeutic response to, or are intolerant of, an adequate trial of first-line therapy including full dose non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs).

Aspirin, (NSAIDs), and/or low dose steroids may be continued, although the possibility of increased toxicity with concomitant use of NSAIDs including salicylates has not been fully explored. (See PACKAGE INSERT FOR  PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions.) Steroids may be reduced gradually in patients who respond to methotrexate. Combined use of methotrexate with gold, penicillamine, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, or cytotoxic agents, has not been studied and may increase the incidence of adverse effects. Rest and physiotherapy as indicated should be continued.


CONTRAINDICATIONS
Methotrexate can cause fetal death or teratogenic effects when administered to a pregnant woman. Methotrexate is contraindicated in pregnant women with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis and should be used in the treatment of neoplastic diseases only when the potential benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should not be started on methotrexate until pregnancy is excluded and should be fully counseled on the serious risk to the fetus (see PACKAGE INSERT FOR PRECAUTIONS) should they become pregnant while undergoing treatment. Pregnancy should be avoided if either partner is receiving methotrexate; during and for a minimum of three months after therapy for male patients, and during and for at least one ovulatory cycle after therapy for female patients. (See Boxed WARNINGS).

Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions from methotrexate in breast fed infants, it is contraindicated in nursing mothers.

Patients with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis with alcoholism, alcoholic liver disease or other chronic liver disease should not receive methotrexate.

Patients with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis who have overt or laboratory evidence of immunodeficiency syndromes should not receive methotrexate.

Patients with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis who have preexisting blood dyscrasias, such as bone marrow hypoplasia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, or significant anemia, should not receive methotrexate.

Patients with a known hypersensitivity to methotrexate should not receive the drug.


WARNINGS - SEE BOXED WARNINGS.
Methotrexate formulations and diluents containing preservatives must not be used for intrathecal or high dose methotrexate therapy.


DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Neoplastic Diseases
Oral administration in tablet form is often preferred when low doses are being administered since absorption is rapid and effective serum levels are obtained. Methotrexate injection may be given by the intramuscular, intravenous or intra-arterial route. However, the preserved formulation contains Benzyl Alcohol and must not be used for intrathecal or high dose therapy. Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit.

Choriocarcinoma and similar trophoblastic diseases: Methotrexate is administered orally or intramuscularly in doses of 15 to 30 mg daily for a five-day course. Such courses are usually repeated for 3 to 5 times as required, with rest periods of one or more weeks interposed between courses, until any manifesting toxic symptoms subside. The effectiveness of therapy is ordinarily evaluated by 24 hour quantitative analysis of urinary chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which should return to normal or less than 50 IU/24 hr usually after the third or fourth course and usually be followed by a complete resolution of measurable lesions in 4 to 6 weeks. One to two courses of methotrexate after normalization of hCG is usually recommended. Before each course of the drug careful clinical assessment is essential. Cyclic combination therapy of methotrexate with other antitumor drugs has been reported as being useful.

Since hydatidiform mole may precede choriocarcinoma, prophylactic chemotherapy with methotrexate has been recommended.

Chorioadenoma destruens is considered to be an invasive form of hydatidiform mole.

Methotrexate is administered in these disease states in doses similar to those recommended for choriocarcinoma.

Leukemia: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in pediatric patients and young adolescents is the most responsive to present day chemotherapy. In young adults and older patients, clinical remission is more difficult to obtain and early relapse is more common.

Methotrexate alone or in combination with steroids was used initially for induction of remission in acute lymphoblastic leukemias. More recently corticosteroid therapy, in combination with other antileukemic drugs or in cyclic combinations with methotrexate included, has appeared to produce rapid and effective remissions. When used for induction, methotrexate in doses of 3.3 mg/m2 in combination with 60 mg/m2 of prednisone, given daily, produced remissions in 50% of patients treated, usually within a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Methotrexate in combination with other agents appears to be the drug of choice for securing maintenance of drug-induced remissions. When remission is achieved and supportive care has produced general clinical improvement, maintenance therapy is initiated, as follows: Methotrexate is administered 2 times weekly either by mouth or intramuscularly in total weekly doses of 30 mg/m2. It has also been given in doses of 2.5 mg/kg intravenously every 14 days. If and when relapse does occur, reinduction of remission can again usually be obtained by repeating the initial induction regimen.

A variety of combination chemotherapy regimens have been used for both induction and maintenance therapy in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The physician should be familiar with the new advances in antileukemic therapy.

Meningeal Leukemia: In the treatment of prophylaxis of meningeal leukemia, methotrexate must be administered intrathecally. Preservative free methotrexate is diluted to a concentration of 1 mg/mL in an appropriate sterile, preservative free medium such as 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP.

The cerebrospinal fluid volume is dependent on age and not on body surface area. The CSF is at 40% of the adult volume at birth and reaches the adult volume in several years.

Intrathecal methotrexate administration at a dose of 12 mg/m2 (maximum 15 mg) has been reported to result in low CSF methotrexate concentrations and reduced efficacy in pediatric patients and high concentrations and neurotoxicity in adults. The following dosage regimen is based on age instead of body surface area:

AGE (years)

DOSE (mg)

<1

6

1

8

2

10

3 or older

12


In one study in patients under the age of 40, this dosage regimen appeared to result in more consistent CSF methotrexate concentrations and less neurotoxicity. Another study in pediatric patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia compared this regimen to a dose of 12 mg/m2 (maximum 15 mg), a significant reduction in the rate of CNS relapse was observed in the group whose dose was based on age.

Because the CSF volume and turnover may decrease with age, a dose reduction may be indicated in elderly patients.

For treatment of meningeal leukemia, intrathecal methotrexate may be given at intervals of 2 to 5 days. However, administration at intervals of less than 1 week may result in increased subacute toxicity. Methotrexate is administered until the cell count of the cerebrospinal fluid returns to normal. At this point one additional dose is advisable. For prophylaxis against meningeal leukemia, the dosage is the same as for treatment except for the intervals of administration. On this subject, it is advisable for the physician to consult the medical literature.

Untoward side effects may occur with any given intrathecal injection and are commonly neurological in character. Large doses may cause convulsions. Methotrexate given by the intrathecal route appears significantly in the systemic circulation and may cause systemic methotrexate toxicity. Therefore, systemic antileukemic therapy with the drug should be appropriately adjusted, reduced or discontinued. Focal leukemic involvement of the central nervous system may not respond to intrathecal chemotherapy and is best treated with radiotherapy.

Lymphomas: In Burkitt’s tumor, Stages I-II, methotrexate has produced prolonged remissions in some cases. Recommended dosage is 10 to 25 mg/day orally for 4 to 8 days. In Stage III, methotrexate is commonly given concomitantly with other antitumor agents. Treatment in all stages usually consists of several courses of the drug interposed with 7 to 10 day rest periods. Lymphosarcomas in Stage III may respond to combined drug therapy with methotrexate given in doses of 0.625 to 2.5 mg/kg daily.

Mycosis fungoides (cutaneous T cell lymphoma): Therapy with methotrexate as a single agent appears to produce clinical responses in up to 50% of patients treated. Dosage in early stages is usually 5 to 50 mg once weekly. Dose reduction or cessation is guided by patient response and hematologic monitoring. Methotrexate has also been administered twice weekly in doses ranging from 15 to 37.5 mg in patients who have responded poorly to weekly therapy. Combination chemotherapy regimens that include intravenous methotrexate administered at higher doses with leucovorin rescue have been utilized in advanced stages of the disease.

Osteosarcoma: An effective adjuvant chemotherapy regimen requires the administration of several cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents. In addition to high-dose methotrexate with leucovorin rescue, these agents may include doxorubicin, cisplatin, and the combination of bleomycin, cyclophosphamide and dactinomycin (BCD) in the doses and schedule shown in the table below. The starting dose for high-dose methotrexate treatment is 12 grams/m2. If this dose is not sufficient to produce a peak serum methotrexate concentration of 1,000 micromolar (10-3 mol/L) at the end of the methotrexate infusion, the dose may be escalated to 15 grams/m2 in subsequent treatments. If the patient is vomiting or is unable to tolerate oral medication, leucovorin is given IV or IM at the same dose and schedule.

Drug*

Dose*

Treatment Week After Surgery

Methotrexate

12 g/m2 IV as 4 hour infusion (starting dose)

4,5,6,7,11,12,15,16,29,30,44,45

Leucovorin

15 mg orally every six hours for 10 doses starting at 24 hours after start of methotrexate infusion

- - -

Doxorubicin as a single drug

30 mg/m2 day IV x 3 days

8,17

Doxorubicin

50 mg/m2 IV

20,23,33,36

Cisplatin

100 mg/m2 IV

20,23,33,36

Bleomycin

15 units/m2 IV x 2 days

2,13,26,39,42

Cyclophosphamide

600 mg/m2 IV x 2 days

2,13,26,39,42

Dactinomycin

0.6 mg/m2 IV x 2 days

2,13,26,39,42

*Link MP, Goorin AM, Miser AW, et al: The effect of adjuvant chemotherapy on relapse-free survival in patients with osteosarcoma of the extremity. N Engl J of Med 1986; 314 (No.25): 1600-1606.

See each respective package insert for full prescribing information. Dosage modifications may be necessary because of drug-induced toxicity.

When these higher doses of methotrexate are to be administered, the following safety guidelines should be closely observed.

GUIDELINES FOR METHOTREXATE THERAPY WITH LEUCOVORIN RESCUE
1. Administration of methotrexate should be delayed until recovery if:
• the WBC count is less than 1500/microliter
• the neutrophil count is less than 200/microliter
• the platelet count is less than 75,000/microliter
• the serum bilirubin level is greater than 1.2 mg/dL
• the SGPT level is greater than 450 U
• mucositis is present, until there is evidence of healing
• persistent pleural effusion is present; this should be drained dry prior to infusion.

2. Adequate renal function must be documented.
a. Serum creatinine must be normal, and creatinine clearance must be greater than 60 mL/min, before initiation of therapy.
b. Serum creatinine must be measured prior to each subsequent course of therapy. If serum creatinine has increased by 50% or more compared to a prior value, the creatinine clearance must be measured and documented to be greater than 60 mL/min (even if the serum creatinine is still within the normal range).

3. Patients must be well hydrated, and must be treated with sodium bicarbonate for urinary alkalinization.
a. Administer 1,000 mL/m2 of intravenous fluid over 6 hours prior to initiation of the methotrexate infusion. Continue hydration at 125 mL/m2/hr (3 liters/m2/day) during the methotrexate infusion, and for 2 days after the infusion has been completed.
b. Alkalinize urine to maintain pH above 7.0 during methotrexate infusion and leucovorin calcium therapy. This can be accomplished by the administration of sodium bicarbonate orally or by incorporation into a separate intravenous solution.

4. Repeat serum creatinine and serum methotrexate 24 hours after starting methotrexate and at least once daily until the methotrexate level is below 5 x 10-8 mol/L (0.05 micromolar).

5. The table below provides guidelines for leucovorin calcium dosage based upon serum methotrexate levels. (See table below.‡)

Patients who experience delayed early methotrexate elimination are likely to develop nonreversible oliguric renal failure. In addition to appropriate leucovorin therapy, these patients require continuing hydration and urinary alkalinization, and close monitoring of fluid and electrolyte status, until the serum methotrexate level has fallen to below 0.05 micromolar and the renal failure has resolved. If necessary, acute, intermittent hemodialysis with a high-flux dialyzer may also be beneficial in these patients.

6. Some patients will have abnormalities in methotrexate elimination, or abnormalities in renal function following methotrexate administration, which are significant but less severe than the abnormalities described in the table below. These abnormalities may or may not be associated with significant clinical toxicity. If significant toxicity is observed, leucovorin rescue should be extended for an additional 24 hours (total 14 doses over 84 hours) in subsequent courses of therapy. The possibility that the patient is taking other medications which interact with methotrexate (e.g., medications which may interfere with methotrexate binding to serum albumin, or elimination) should always be reconsidered when laboratory abnormalities or clinical toxicities are observed.

CAUTION: DO NOT ADMINISTER LEUCOVORIN INTRATHECALLY

Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Adult Rheumatoid Arthritis: Recommended Starting Dosage Schedules

  1. Single oral doses of 7.5 mg once weekly.

  2. Divided oral dosages of 2.5 mg at 12 hour intervals for 3 doses given as a course once weekly.

    Methotrexate Sodium Tablets for oral administration are available.


Polyarticular-Course Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: The recommended starting dose is 10 mg/m2 given once weekly.

For either adult RA or polyarticular-course JRA, dosages may be adjusted gradually to achieve an optimal response. Limited experience shows a significant increase in the incidence and severity of serious toxic reactions, especially bone marrow suppression, at doses greater than 20 mg/wk in adults. Although there is experience with doses up to 30 mg/m2/wk in children, there are too few published data to assess how doses over 20 mg/m2/wk might affect the risk of serious toxicity in children. Experience does suggest, however, that children receiving 20 to 30 mg/m2/wk (0.65 to 1.0 mg/kg/wk) may have better absorption and fewer gastrointestinal side effects if methotrexate is administered either intramuscularly or subcutaneously.

Therapeutic response usually begins within 3 to 6 weeks and the patient may continue to improve for another 12 weeks or more.

The optimal duration of therapy is unknown. Limited data available from long-term studies in adults indicate that the initial clinical improvement is maintained for at least two years with continued therapy. When methotrexate is discontinued, the arthritis usually worsens within 3 to 6 weeks.
The patient should be fully informed of the risks involved and should be under constant supervision of the physician. (See Information for Patients under PRECAUTIONS). Assessment of hematologic, hepatic, renal, and pulmonary function should be made by history, physical examination, and laboratory tests before beginning, periodically during, and before reinstituting methotrexate therapy. (See PRECAUTIONS). Appropriate steps should be taken to avoid conception during methotrexate therapy. (See PACKAGE INSERT FOR PRECAUTIONS and CONTRAINDICATIONS).

All schedules should be continually tailored to the individual patient. An initial test dose may be given prior to the regular dosing schedule to detect any extreme sensitivity to adverse effects (See PACKAGE INSERT FOR ADVERSE REACTIONS). Maximal myelosuppression usually occurs in seven to ten days.
Psoriasis: Recommended Starting Dose Schedule:
  1. Weekly single oral, IM or IV dosage schedule: 10 to 25 mg per week until adequate response is achieved.

  2. Divided oral dose schedule 2.5 mg at 12 hour intervals for three doses.


    Methotrexate Sodium Tablets for oral administration are available.

Dosages in each schedule may be gradually adjusted to achieve optimal clinical response; 30 mg/week should not ordinarily be exceeded. Once optimal clinical response has been achieved, each dosage schedule should be reduced to the lowest possible amount of drug and to the longest possible rest period. The use of methotrexate may permit the return to conventional topical therapy, which should be encouraged.

HANDLING AND DISPOSAL

Procedures for proper handling and disposal of anticancer drugs should be considered. Several guidelines on this subject have been published.1-7 There is no general agreement that all of the procedures recommended in the guidelines are necessary or appropriate.

DILUTION INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIQUID METHOTREXATE INJECTION PRODUCT

Methotrexate Injection, USP, Isotonic Liquid, Contains Preservative

If desired, the solution may be further diluted with a compatible medium such as Sodium Chloride Injection, USP. Storage for 24 hours at a temperature of 21°C to 25°C results in a product which is within 90% of label potency.

Methotrexate Injection, USP, Isotonic Liquid, Preservative Free, for Single Use Only

If desired, the solution may be further diluted immediately prior to use with an appropriate sterile, preservative free medium such as 5% Dextrose Solution, USP or Sodium Chloride Injection, USP.

 

HOW SUPPLIED

Parenteral:

Methotrexate Injection, USP, Isotonic Liquid, Contains Preservative. Each 25 mg/mL, 2 mL vial contains methotrexate sodium equivalent to 50 mg methotrexate.

50 mg, 2 mL Vial

NDC 61703-350-38

Methotrexate Injection, USP, Isotonic Liquid, Preservative Free, for Single Use Only. Each 10 mg/mL, 2 mL vial contains methotrexate sodium equivalent to 20 mg methotrexate.

20 mg, 2 mL Vial

NDC 61703-352-07

Methotrexate Injection, USP, Isotonic Liquid, Preservative Free, for Single Use Only. Each 25 mg/mL, 20 mL, 40 mL and 100 mL vial contains methotrexate sodium equivalent to 500 mg, 1 g and 2.5 g methotrexate respectively.

500 mg, 20 mL Vial

NDC 61703-408-22

1 g, 40 mL Vial

NDC 61703-408-41

2.5 g, 100 mL Vial

NDC 61703-351-59

Store at controlled room temperature, 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15° to 30°C (59° to 86°F). PROTECT FROM LIGHT.



‡LEUCOVORIN RESCUE SCHEDULES FOLLOWING TREATMENT WITH HIGHER DOSES OF METHOTREXATE

Clinical Situation

Laboratory Findings

Leucovorin Dosage and Duration

Normal Methotrexate Elimination

Serum methotrexate level approximately 10 micromolar at 24 hours after administration, 1 micromolar at 48 hours, and less than 0.2 micromolar at 72 hours.

15 mg PO, IM, or IV q 6 hours for 60 hours (10 doses starting at 24 hours after start of methotrexate infusion).

Delayed Late Methotrexate Elimination

Serum methotrexate level remaining above 0.2 micromolar at 72 hours, and more than 0.05 micromolar at 96 hours after administration.

Continue 15 mg PO, IM, or IV q six hours, until methotrexate level is less than 0.05 micromolar.

Delayed Early Methotrexate Elimination and/or Evidence of Acute Renal Injury

Serum methotrexate level of 50 micromolar or more at 24 hours, or 5 micromolar or more at 48 hours after administration, OR; a 100% or greater increase in serum creatinine level at 24 hours after methotrexate administration, (e.g., an increase from 0.5 mg/dL to a level of 1 mg/dL or more).

150 mg IV q three hours, until methotrexate level is less than 1 micromolar; then 15 mg IV q three hours until methotrexate level is less than 0.05 micromolar.

Reference(s)

PRIMARY:
1)  [PACKAGE INSERT DATA] : Methotrexate (methotrexate sodium) injection, solution. [Hospira, Inc.] Lake Forest, IL 60045. Revised: 02/2008.


2) Solimando, Dominic A. Drug Information Handbook for Oncology: A Complete Guide to Combination Chemotherapy Regimens, 8th ed. Hudson, OH: Lexi-Comp, Inc.; 2010.


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