Difference Between Folinic Acid and Methylfolate l Folinic Acid vs Methylfolate


The key difference between folinic acid and methylfolate is that the folinic acid is a metabolically active form of folate whereas the methylfolate is a biologically active form of folate.

Both folinic acid and methylfolate are forms of medication that we use to treat different diseases at the cellular level. A synonym for folinic acid is leucovorin, which we can take by mouth, injection to muscle or vein. A synonym for methylfolate is a Levomefolic acid, which we can take via oral, transdermal, subcutaneous routes. Furthermore, an important difference between folinic acid and methylfolate is their use. The folinic acid is a medication to decrease the toxic effects of methotrexate and pyrimethamine. Whereas, methylfolate is a medication for DNA reproduction, the cysteine cycle, and the regulation of homocysteine.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Folinic Acid
3. What is Methylfolate
4. Side by Side Comparison – Folinic Acid vs Methylfolate in Tabular Form
5. Summary

What is Folinic Acid?

Folinic acid or leucovorin is a medication that we use to decrease the toxic effects of methotrexate and pyrimethamine. It is a metabolically active form of folate. Among the other uses of this drug, we can use it to treat colorectal cancer (should use this along with 5-fluorouracil). Also, it can treat folate deficiency as well. The routes of administration of this drug are oral, injection to muscle, and injection to the vein.

Difference Between Folinic Acid and Methylfolate l Folinic Acid vs Methylfolate

Figure 01: Chemical Structure of Folinic Acid

The chemical formula of the active ingredient of this drug is C20H23N7O7, and the molar mass is 473.44 g/mol. The melting point of this compound is 245 °C and at temperatures above this melting point, the compound decomposes. Hence there is no boiling point for this compound.

When considering the side effects of this drug, it includes trouble sleeping, allergic reactions and fever mainly. However, the administration via intrathecal routes may cause severe effects or even death. Moreover, the folinic acid can readily convert into methylfolate.

What is Methylfolate?

Methylfolate or Levomefolic is a medication that we use for DNA reproduction, the cysteine cycle and the regulation of homocysteine. Furthermore, it is the primary, biologically active form of folate. Also, this drug is useful in methylation of homocysteine to form methionine and tetrahydrofolate. The routes of administration for this drug include via oral, transdermal, subcutaneous routes. Moreover, this drug is considerably water soluble and thus, can excrete via kidneys.

Difference Between Folinic Acid and Methylfolate l Folinic Acid vs Methylfolate

Figure 02: Chemical Structure of Methylfolate

Looking at the chemical properties, the chemical formula of the active ingredient of this drug is C20H25N7O6, and the molar mass is 459.46 g/mol. Considering the side effects, the side effects of this drug include irritability, sore muscles, achy joints, acne, rash and other allergic reactions.

What is the Difference Between Folinic Acid and Methylfolate?

Folinic acid and methylfolate are two forms of folate. The key difference between folinic acid and methylfolate is that the folinic acid is a metabolically active form of folate whereas methylfolate is a biologically active form of folate. Furthermore, as another important difference between folinic acid and methylfolate, we can say that the use of folinic acid is to decrease the toxic effects of methotrexate and pyrimethamine whereas methylfolate is a medication for DNA reproduction, cysteine cycle, and regulation of homocysteine.

Moreover, the routes of administration can also be different from each other. Hence, the difference between folinic acid and methylfolate based on administration is that for folinic acid, it is via the mouth, injection to muscle or vein while for methylfolate it is via oral, transdermal, subcutaneous routes.

Difference Between Folinic Acid and Methylfolate l Folinic Acid vs Methylfolate

Summary – Folinic Acid vs Methylfolate

Folinic acid and methylfolate are two forms of drugs that we can use to treat different diseases at the cellular level. In summary, the key difference between folinic acid and methylfolate is that the folinic acid is a metabolically active form of folate whereas methylfolate is a biologically active form of folate.

Reference:

1. “Folinic Acid.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 July 2018. Available here 
2. “Levomefolic Acid.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 June 2018. Available here 

Image Courtesy:

1.”Folinic acid”By Fvasconcellos – Own work, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 
2.”5-Methyltetrahydrofolate”By Edgar181 – Own work, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 

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