Longterm prospective study of methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis: conclusion after 132 months of therapy

J Rheumatol. 1998 Feb;25(2):238-42.


Objective: To conclude observations of efficacy of longterm methotrexate (MTX) treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Twenty-six patients with RA entered a prospective study of MTX in 1983. The study was completed after 132 months of therapy.

Results: Significant improvement (p < 0.001) was noted in the number of painful joints, swollen joints, and physician and patient global assessments. There was 50% improvement in the joint pain index and joint swelling index in > 65% of the patients. A significant reduction in prednisone dose was achieved. Sixteen patients withdrew from the study. Toxicity led to 3 drug related withdrawals of study patients (alopecia 1; pneumonitis 2). At 132 months, 10 patients (38%) had completed the study; 3 patients (11%) discontinued due to MTX toxicity.

Conclusion: MTX was an effective treatment for RA in this 132 month prospective study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Biopsy
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Prednisone
  • Methotrexate