Objective: Based on a nationwide database, this study analyzed the influence of methotrexate (MTX), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, and a combination of the 2 medications on uveitis occurrence in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients.
Methods: Data from the National Paediatric Rheumatological Database in Germany were used in this study. Between 2002 and 2013, data from JIA patients were annually documented at the participating pediatric rheumatologic sites. Patients with a JIA disease duration of <12 months at initial documentation and ≥2 years of followup were included in this study. The impact of antiinflammatory treatment on the occurrence of uveitis was evaluated by discrete-time survival analysis.
Results: A total of 3,512 JIA patients (mean ± SD age 8.3 ± 4.8 years, 65.7% female, 53.2% antinuclear antibody positive, and mean ± SD age at arthritis onset 7.8 ± 4.8 years) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Mean ± SD total followup time was 3.6 ± 2.4 years. Uveitis developed in a total of 180 patients (5.1%) within 1 year after arthritis onset. Uveitis onset after the first year was observed in another 251 patients (7.1%). Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) treatment in the year before uveitis onset significantly reduced the risk for uveitis as follows: MTX: hazard ratio (HR) 0.63, P = 0.022; TNF inhibitors: HR 0.56, P < 0.001; and a combination of the 2 medications: HR 0.10, P < 0.001. Patients treated with MTX within the first year of JIA had an even a lower uveitis risk (HR 0.29, P < 0.001).
Conclusion: The use of DMARDs in JIA patients significantly reduced the risk for uveitis onset. Early MTX use within the first year of disease and the combination of MTX with a TNF inhibitor had the highest protective effect.
© 2016 The Authors. Arthritis Care & Research published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology.