Association between systemic antipsoriatic drugs and cardiovascular risk in patients with psoriasis with or without psoriatic arthritis: a nationwide cohort study

Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Jun;64(6):1879-87. doi: 10.1002/art.34335. Epub 2011 Dec 12.


Objective: Psoriasis is associated with ischemic heart disease (IHD). Results of prior studies have suggested that methotrexate (MTX) may improve vascular disease in patients with psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. The aim of this study was to assess the risk of new-onset IHDs in psoriasis patients, comparing those taking MTX with those taking other nonbiologic antipsoriatic drugs.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we utilized claims data from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan to identify 179,200 subjects who had received a diagnosis of psoriasis, with or without psoriatic arthritis, on at least 3 visits. The risk of hospitalization for new-onset IHD was compared between psoriasis patients taking MTX monotherapy (n = 6,578; MTX case cohort) and psoriasis patients taking other nonbiologic antipsoriatic drugs (n = 5,471; reference control cohort) between January 1996 and December 2008. Additional adjustments were made for cardiovascular risk factors, number of hospital visits, Charlson comorbidity score, and use of other antiinflammatory drugs.

Results: The incidence rates of IHD were 666 cases per 100,000 person-years in the MTX case cohort and 830 cases per 100,000 person-years in the reference control cohort (unadjusted P = 0.027). Increasing age, male sex, presence of hypertension, presence of diabetes, Charlson comorbidity score, and use of phototherapies were independent risk factors for hospitalization related to a new IHD in the study cohorts. However, the multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio for IHD-related hospitalizations among patients receiving MTX, in comparison with those receiving other nonbiologic antipsoriatic drugs, was 0.97 (95% confidence interval 0.79-1.19), after adjustment for age, sex, comorbidity score, number of hospital visits, and other antiinflammatory treatments for psoriasis.

Conclusion: In patients with psoriasis with or without coexisting psoriatic arthritis, the adjusted risk of hospitalization for an IHD among individuals receiving MTX was comparable with that among individuals receiving other nonbiologic antipsoriatic drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / complications
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / chemically induced
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / etiology*
  • Psoriasis / complications
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Methotrexate