Low-dose methotrexate treatment in elderly patients with bullous pemphigoid

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994 Oct;31(4):620-5. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(94)70227-6.


Background: Various treatments have been used for elderly patients with bullous pemphigoid. The most common is moderate-dose to high-dose prednisone, either alone or in combination with other oral or topical agents.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of low-dose methotrexate as a steroid-sparing agent in patients with bullous pemphigoid. METHODS. A retrospective chart review of 34 patients with bullous pemphigoid seen from 1989 through the first half of 1993 was conducted. The diagnosis of bullous pemphigoid was confirmed by direct or indirect immunofluorescence microscopy, or salt-split skin sections. Eight of 34 elderly (> 60 years old) patients with therapy-resistant bullous pemphigoid received low-dose weekly methotrexate (average, 5 to 10 mg) in combination with oral prednisone.

Results: Patients who received combination therapy required significantly lower (p < or = 0.02) doses of prednisone to control their disease at 1 month compared with baseline doses.

Conclusion: In this elderly patient population the side effect profile of the methotrexate was acceptable and well tolerated. We therefore recommend methotrexate and low-dose corticosteroid as first-line combination therapy for selected elderly patients with bullous pemphigoid.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / drug therapy*
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Drug Combinations
  • Prednisone
  • Methotrexate