Methotrexate (MTX) treatment for psoriasis is most often administered weekly, because the drug has been considered more hepatotoxic when taken daily. However, some patients may tolerate smaller, more frequent doses better.
Objective: To study the efficacy and toxicity of daily vs. weekly MTX.
Patients and methods: In a randomized controlled trial, 101 patients with generalized plaque psoriasis received oral MTX 2.5 mg daily for weeks, 4 weeks and monthly for a total of 4 months. Changes in PASI scores were classified into three categories: >75% improvement was considered significant; 25-75% moderate; and <25% poor.
Results: Sixty Group 1 patients and 81 Group 2 patients showed a significant response (P-value 0.001); 19 patients in Group 1 and 14 in Group 2 responded moderately; 22 patients in Group 1 and six patients from Group 2 responded poorly. Forty-five patients in Group 1 and 33 in Group 2 developed transient increases in liver enzymes (P-value 0.11). Nausea, headache, fatigue, and gastrointestinal upset were noted in four Group 1 patients and 30 Group 2 patients (P-value 0.0001).
Conclusion: Nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue were significantly less common side effects in our patients who received MTX daily, but liver enzyme abnormalities were less common, and clinical efficacy was greater in the patients who received MTX weekly.
© 2011 The International Society of Dermatology.