The use of methotrexate for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in clinical practice
Digestive and Liver Diseases,  Clinical Article

Saibeni S et al. – The use of methotrexate appears to be negligible in clinical practice. However, the results suggest that, if appropriately used, methotrexate could be more widely administered to inflammatory bowel disease patients with complicated disease.

  • 5420 case histories were reviewed.

  • Methotrexate was prescribed to 112 patients (2.1%; 89 Crohn's disease, 23 ulcerative colitis).
  • It was the first-line immunosuppressive option in 32 (28.6%), it was an alternative drug due to toxicity or failure of thiopurines in 80 (71.4%).
  • Steroid-dependence represented the main indication both when it was used as first (13/32, 40.6%) and second option (41/80, 51.2%).
  • Efficacy was considered optimal in 39/112 (34.8%), partial in 29/112 (25.9%), absent in 22/112 (19.6%), not assessable in 22/112 (19.6%).
  • Side effects happened in 49 out of 112 patients (43.7%) (39 Crohn's disease, 10 ulcerative colitis), leading to drug discontinuation in 38 (33.9%).
  • ccurrence of side effects was approximately fivefold higher in patients who did not receive folic acid (14/19, 73.7%) than in those who did (35/93, 37.6%): odds ratio 4.64, 95% confidence interval 1.54–14.00; P=0.005.

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