Methotrexate treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in Poland: Retrospective analysis of patients in routine clinical practice
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Submission date: 2017-12-31
Final revision date: 2018-02-15
Acceptance date: 2018-02-22
Online publication date: 2018-02-28
Publication date: 2018-02-28
Reumatologia 2018;56(1):3–9
The aim of this study was to evaluate methotrexate (MTX) treatment administered by Polish rheumatologists in everyday practice.

Material and methods:
The study was based on a retrospective analysis of a cohort of 1957 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It was conducted among 100 rheumatologists, each of whom received 20 questionnaires and completed them based on the data from their rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Methotrexate was taken by 91% of patients, and 80% of them continued the treatment either as a monotherapy (65%) or concomitantly with other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. In 60% of the cases, therapy was initiated within six months of diagnosis. Dose modifications were observed in 76% of cases and were contingent on different factors, e.g. lack of efficacy, presence of adverse events. The most prevalent adverse events were nausea and vomiting, weakness, and elevated liver enzyme activity. The most common initial dose of MTX was 10 or 15 mg/week. An increase in dose to the maximum of 25 mg/week was observed in 36% of cases, with continuation for 27% of patients. Treatment interruption was noted in 21% of patients, predominantly due to MTX intolerance; however, in 13% of cases, it was due to patient choice.

Methotrexate is the most common agent used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Dose modifications are often applied to maximise efficacy and reduce adverse reactions, which could lead to withdrawal. Methotrexate is an effective drug for treatment of RA when used according to current recommendations. To optimise MTX therapy, regular medical visits are required.

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