An audit of methotrexate and folic acid for rheumatoid arthritis. Experience from a teaching centre

Br J Rheumatol. 1995 Oct;34(10):971-5. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/34.10.971.


We describe an audit of 158 patients with RA treated with weekly methotrexate and 5 mg of folic acid 24 h later. Our aim was to assess the safety and efficacy of this regime in our hands compared with published clinical trials of methotrexate in RA, and to examine patient outcomes. Treatment improved ESR, but only 69% of patients continuing therapy for prolonged periods believed their arthritis to be better on treatment. Health Assessment Questionnaire and Hospital Anxiety and Depression questionnaire scores in prospectively studied patients were not significantly altered by treatment. Toxicity occurred frequently (59% in those continuing and 89% in those ceasing therapy) and cessation of therapy solely due to lack of efficacy was rare. The probability of patients continuing with methotrexate and folic acid after 1, 2, 3 and 4 yr was 87, 76, 74 and 74%, respectively, figures that are at the upper end of the reported range for methotrexate alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Drug Monitoring / standards
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / adverse effects
  • Folic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Folic Acid
  • Methotrexate