Ectopic Pregnancy (cont.)
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Ectopic Pregnancy Medications
If the ectopic pregnancy is in the Fallopian tube and is very small, the patient may be given medication to cause the tissue to stop growing and allow the body to expel it.
Formerly, surgery was the only option for treatment of ectopic pregnancy. In recent years, medical treatment in the form of methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) therapy for some cases of ectopic pregnancy has become widespread. Methotrexate is a chemotherapeutic drug that interferes with cell division and growth and has been successfully used in the treatment of leukemias, lymphomas, and other cancers. It has also been used as an immunosuppressive agent in the prevention of graft versus host disease in transplant recipients and in the treatment of severe psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate is given for ectopic pregnancy in the form of single or multiple intramuscular injections.
Most women who undergo this therapy describe lower abdominal pain, especially within the first several days, and vaginal bleeding "like a heavy period" will occur. The patient will be advised to have blood tests every 3 days to ensure that the medication has been effective.
Stephen Metz, MD
Jeff Disney, MD, FAAEM
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