Efficacy of Vitamin E in Methotrexate-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Open-Label Case-Control Study

Int J Rheumatol. 2020 May 1;2020:5723485. doi: 10.1155/2020/5723485. eCollection 2020.


Objective: To examine the efficacy of vitamin E in methotrexate- (MTX-) induced transaminitis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: A case-control study was conducted at a tertiary rheumatology center for 12 months. Patients with RA on MTX and deranged aminotransferases were included. Patients with previous liver diseases, baseline transaminitis before methotrexate initiation, alcohol intake, muscle diseases, under hepatotoxic drugs, and aminotransferases > 3 times the upper normal limit were excluded. The patients were divided into treatment (vitamin E 400 mg bid for 3 months) and control groups (no vitamin E) using a random number table. The dose of MTX was unaltered. Follow-up was done after 3 and 6 months. Independent t-test was done to compare means of two groups. Paired t-test was done to compare differences in mean.

Results: Among 230 patients, 86.5% were female with a mean BMI of 25.9 ± 4.5 kg/m2. In the treatment group, SGPT and SGOT at baseline were 73.1 ± 20.4 and 60.2 ± 24.5 IU/L, respectively; at 3-month follow-up 44.6 ± 34.2 and 38.3 ± 20.8 IU/L, respectively; and at 6-month follow-up 40.4 ± 35.7 and 34.2 ± 21.9 IU/L, respectively. In the control group, SGPT and SGOT at baseline were 63.4 ± 15.1 and 46.8 ± 13.7 IU/L, respectively, and at 3-month follow-up 55.8 ± 45.9 and 45.5 ± 30.9 IU/L, respectively. Significant decrease in the level of aminotransferases was seen in the treatment group (p value < 0.001) and not in the control group (p values 0.161 and 0.728, respectively). The change in levels of SGPT and SGOT from baseline to 3 months of follow-up was statistically significant in between two study groups (p values 0.007 and <0.001, respectively). From the control group, 29 patients were crossed over to vitamin E for the next 3 months. SGPT and SGOT decreased from 97.6 ± 44.1 to 46.1 ± 40.9 and 69.3 ± 34.9 to 29.1 ± 11.6 IU/L, respectively (p values 0.031 and 0.017, respectively).

Conclusion: Vitamin E significantly attenuates MTX-induced transaminitis.