Efficacy of methotrexate in management of peripheral psoriatic arthritis – a systematic review

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INTRODUCTION: Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory joint disease associated with psoriasis. Treatment consists of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs with methotrexate (MTX) as first choice, yet documentation of the efficacy of this treatment is limited. The objective of this review is to make an accessible overview of the existing evidence on the clinical effect of MTX in the treatment of peripheral PsA.

METHODS: A systematic search for randomised controlled trials was conducted using the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library databases. Studies examining the effect of MTX on peripheral arthritis in adult patients with PsA were included. Only trials published in English were considered and for each study, the methodological quality was assessed.

RESULTS: Seven studies qualified given the selected criteria. None of the two placebo-controlled trials included found a significant reduction in tender and swollen joint counts. Trials comparing MTX to combination therapy with TNF-alpha inhibitor or ciclosporin A demonstrated some clinical benefits of MTX; however, combination therapy was superior to MTX monotherapy. In a strategy trial, patients were able to reach minimal disease activity with MTX treatment alone, pointing towards some efficacy of MTX on clinical manifestations.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinical benefits have been found in the treatment of PsA with MTX. MTX has demonstrated clinical efficacy in the treatment of psoriasis; however, the treatment of peripheral arthritis still lacks supportive evidence. More controlled trials need to be conducted to underpin evidence-based use of MTX.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA5570
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Issue number10
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


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