Methotrexate and future applications of gold injections
The drug methotrexate, the current standard of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, was originally purposed for and is still used as a cancer treatment. In 1985, a report was published showing that methotrexate was also an effective treatment for RA symptoms, and it has since replaced gold injections as the common method of treatment. It is most effective at treating the primary symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: pain and swelling.
Methotrexate is one of the safest drugs for treating rheumatoid arthritis, although it is not without its own side effects. The drug raises the level of enzymes in the liver, which can lead to long-term issues in the gut and along the GI tract. It is common for people to take a daily dose of folic acid to reduce the side effects of methotrexate.
Researchers have also turned to biologics, which hinder the immune system response in a way similar to that of gold injections. Like gold injections, there are autoimmune and risk of infection factors to take into consideration. While researchers turn to DMARDs and biologic therapies for the future of rheumatoid arthritis, gold injections may have practical applications in treating cancer and other inflammatory diseases.
Whatever researchers may come to discover about gold injections, it is already known that gold compounds have a unique effect on inflammatory illnesses. They also have antibacterial and antiviral properties, which could be used in treating other life-threatening illnesses. For these reasons alone, some researchers are seeking to reintroduce gold injections into mainline treatment practices.