Methotrexate Fights Rheumatoid Arthritis Second Time Around
THURSDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A second course of the drug methotrexate
can still prove effective in rheumatoid arthritis patients who didn't respond
to the drug the first time around, Austrian researchers report.
Investigators at the Medical University of Vienna also found that a second
treatment was particularly effective in patients who received low doses of the
drug in their first treatment. Methotrexate is the most commonly used drug to
treat rheumatoid arthritis .
The study, published in the Feb. 23 issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy,
involved 79 patients who had a second methotrexate treatment that lasted at
least a year. The patients had stopped their first treatment due to side effects,
or because it was ineffective.
Of these 79 patients, 42 (53.2 percent) went on to gain benefit from an effective
second treatment. Of those patients, 23 had stopped their first treatment because
it was ineffective and 16 had stopped their first treatment due to side effects.
The second treatment was more than twice as likely to be effective in patients
who had received a low dose (10 milligrams or less per week) in their first
treatment than in patients who received a high dose (more than 17.5 milligrams
per week) in their first treatment.
The findings suggest that renewed use of methotrexate may be an option for
treatment of rheumatoid arthritis patients who failed to respond to their first
treatment with the drug, the researchers said.
SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, Feb. 23, 2006
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