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n. (context medicine English) An antimetabolite and antifolate drug used in treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.


n. toxic antimetabolite that limits cellular reproduction by acting as an antagonist to folic acid; used to treat certain cancers and psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis [syn: methotrexate sodium, amethopterin]


Methotrexate (MTX), formerly known as amethopterin, is an antimetabolite and antifolate drug.

It is used in treatment of cancer, autoimmune diseases, ectopic pregnancy, and for the induction of medical abortions. It acts by inhibiting the metabolism of folic acid via dihydrofolate reductase.

Methotrexate began to replace the more toxic antifolate aminopterin starting in the 1950s. The drug was originally synthesised by the Indian biochemist Yellapragada Subbarow and clinically developed by the American pediatric pathologist Sidney Farber. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medications needed in a basic health system.