The effectiveness of a traditional therapeutical approach in early psoriatic arthritis: results of a pilot randomised 6-month trial with methotrexate

Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Jul;27(7):823-6. doi: 10.1007/s10067-007-0787-7. Epub 2007 Nov 21.


Thirty-five patients with Early Psoriatic Arthritis (EPA) (17 female and 18 male; mean age 25.6 years) entered this randomised 6-month study. At the enrolment, all patients were on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy on demand and were divided in two matched groups (A and B). Group A continued NSAID therapy at full dosage in the following 3 months and then added methotrexate (MTX) for another 3 months. Group B was under the combination of NSAID and MTX for the entire 6-month period. Clinical and laboratory assessment included the count of tender joints and/or entheses (TJC), the count of swollen joints and/or entheses (SJC), patient's global assessment (PGA), physician's global assessment (PhGA), patient's assessment of pain (VAS), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and serum concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP). All variables were done at baseline (T0), at 3 (T3) and at 6 months (T6). In both group A and in group B, there was a significant improvement of all variables at T3 and T6. However, in comparison to the patients of group A, patients included in group B showed a more rapid and marked improvement of TJC and SJC, which was statistically significant at T3 (p < 0.05). In contrast, the improvement of PGA, PhGA, VAS, ESR and CRP was not significantly different between groups. The early use of MTX in EPA patients markedly improves TJC and SJC. In fact, at T3, other markers used to quantify EPA disease activity, in particular PGA, PhGA, VAS, ESR and CRP, did not show significant differences in EPA patients treated with either NSAIDs or MTX. This finding suggests an incomplete control under MTX of the pathogenetic process and stimulates further interest on early use of other therapeutical approaches capable of modifying the course of disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Methotrexate