Methotrexate for Ectopic Pregnancy
How It Works
Methotrexate treatment can be given as a single shot or as several injections. If an ectopic pregnancy continues after 2 or 3 doses of methotrexate, surgical treatment is needed to remove the ectopic pregnancy.
During the week that you have methotrexate injections, your pregnancy hormone levels (human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG) are tested several times. Your doctor will look for a drop in hCG levels, which is a sign that the pregnancy is ending (hCG levels sometimes rise during the first few days of treatment, then drop).
- If your hCG levels have dropped enough after 1 week, you are then tested on a weekly basis until they are low enough to suggest that the pregnancy has safely ended. This usually takes about a month but can take more than 3 months.
- If your hCG levels aren't dropping enough after 1 week, you will be given another dose of methotrexate. Your hCG levels will be watched as they were after the first dose.
- If your hCG levels continue at higher levels, or if your doctor becomes concerned about tubal rupture, surgery will be needed to remove the ectopic growth.
Methotrexate series. Although it is an uncommon practice, methotrexate can be given every other day until pregnancy hormone (hCG) blood tests confirm that the pregnancy has ended. On alternate days, a medicine called Reference leucovorin (folinic acid) is given by injection to decrease methotrexate side effects. Treatment time for a methotrexate series varies from case to case but can take a month or longer.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: May 14, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology