Leucovorin is used to prevent the harmful effects of methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall; cancer chemotherapy medication) when methotrexate is used to treat certain types of cancer.
Leucovorin is also used to treat people who have accidentally received an overdose of methotrexate or similar medications. Leucovorin is in a class of medications called folic acid analogs. It works by protecting healthy cells from the effects of methotrexate or similar medications while allowing methotrexate to enter and kill cancer cells.
Side Effects Of Leucovorin
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Leucovorin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking leucovorin:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to leucovorin, levoleucovorin, folic acid (Folicet, in multivitamins), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in leucovorin tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: certain medications for seizures such as phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), and primidone (Mysoline); and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have anemia (low number of red blood cells) caused by lack of vitamin B12 or inability to absorb vitamin B12. Your doctor will not prescribe leucovorin to treat this type of anemia.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a buildup of fluid in the chest cavity or the stomach area or kidney disease. Also, tell your doctor if you are nauseated.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking leucovorin, call your doctor.
Leucovorin comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 6 hours until laboratory tests show it is no longer needed. Sometimes leucovorin is taken on a different schedule, depending on the reason it is needed. Take leucovorin at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take leucovorin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to leucovorin.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.