Frequently Asked Questions About Medicines

Is there an approved eating plan for SLE patients?

There is not a scientifically recommended "lupus diet." In general, a well-balanced diet is recommended. If a patient is taking prednisone, we want him or her to watch salt and fat intake. 

What happens if we forget a dose of methotrexate for an entire week or just forget to give it on the schedule day of the week? When/what day do you continue?

If you forget a dose, then you can resume treatment on the same day next week. If you are a day late, then just give the dose one date late and resume your normal schedule the following week. 

Does methotrexate cause an upset stomach?

Yes it can. This usually happens within 36 hours of taking the dose.

What can I do if my child gets nauseous before I giver him/her a shot?

The Behavioral Health Service has a counselor who works with kids on relaxation and distraction if they get sick prior to getting medicine. Call 412-692-5589.

My doctor switched my child's NSAID. What should I do with the old NSAID?

Contact your pharmacy to find out if it has a drop-off for medications that are no longer used.

How safe is methotrexate (and other meds) for long-term use?

Any medication has side effects. Methotrexate (MTX) lowers the immune system and can cause mouth ulcers and nausea. We know that adults have taken MTX safely for decades. Its use for children with arthritis started in the 1980s. We recommend checking the lab work on the liver, kidneys, and blood count every two months.

What are the side effects of prednisone? Is it dangerous?

Prednisone is good for fighting off inflammation, but it does have many potential side effects. A general rule about prednisone is that the lower the dose the better. If higher doses are used for long periods of time, then there is more risk for side effects. Some of these include: high blood pressure, moodiness, personality changes, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, acne, cataract, interruption of the blood supply to the hip, and decrease in rate of growth (height).

What are the side effects of Cellcept? Is it dangerous?

Cellcept is a medicine that lowers the immune system. Some people can also experience nausea, stomach pain, and changes in the blood count. Other side effects are possible.

Are all vaccines safe for the rheumatology patient? Which are not?

If a patient is taking medicine that lowers the immune system, then we would like him or her to avoid "live" vaccines. These would include varicella (chickenpox) and MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella). 

What vitamins should my child take?

If your child is getting a well-balanced diet, vitamins are not necessary. Otherwise, a multi-vitamin is recommended. 

As patients grow and gain weight, how do you determine if medications should be increased?

If a child feels well and the exam is normal, we might just leave him or her at the dose of medication. If the child is not doing well, then we may want to increase the medicine dose.

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