Management of cutaneous lupus erythematosus with low-dose methotrexate: indication for modulation of inflammatory mechanisms

Rheumatol Int. 1998;18(2):59-62. doi: 10.1007/s002960050058.


There is no consensus about an effective and safe treatment for patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus (LE) who are refractory to antimalarials and/or low-dose oral glucocorticosteroids. Therefore, we retrospectively analyzed the clinical data and laboratory findings of 12 patients who received weekly administrations of 10-25 mg methotrexate (MTX). Previous treatment with antimalarials and/or glucocorticosteroids was not effective or had to be withdrawn because of side effects. Of 12 patients, ten showed improvement of their skin lesions; two patients did not respond to low-dose MTX; two patients cleared rapidly, and five other patients had long-lasting remissions of 5-24 months after stopping MTX treatment. A reduction of circulating autoantibodies was detected in five patients. In all patients, MTX was well tolerated subjectively and objectively. Weekly low-dose MTX is useful for the treatment of cutaneous LE, particularly in those cases which need long-term treatment and/or do not respond to standard therapeutic regimens.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / immunology
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Autoantibodies
  • Methotrexate