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      Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management (submit here)

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      Update on subcutaneous methotrexate for inflammatory arthritis and psoriasis


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          Methotrexate (MTX) is one of the mainstays of treatment for several immune-mediated inflammatory joint and skin diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and moderate-to-severe psoriasis. Oral MTX has been used for the treatment of such diseases for decades for many reasons. There is, however, a relevant interpatient variability of clinical and safety outcomes that can also be related to differences in patients’ individual pharmacogenomic profile. Orally administered MTX has been found to have a saturable intestinal absorption and nonlinear pharmacokinetics, with significant consequences on drug bioavailability and clinical efficacy. The current evidence shows that parenterally administered MTX results in rapid and complete absorption, higher serum levels, and less variable exposure than oral dosing. The use of parenteral MTX, particularly when administered as a subcutaneous (SC) injection, has recently raised great interest in order to overcome the limitations of oral MTX. The effectiveness and safety of SC MTX have mostly been assessed in rheumatological settings, especially in patients with RA. There are only a limited number of data on SC MTX in juvenile idiopathic arthritis and even fewer in psoriatic disease. Various clinical experiences have suggested that SC MTX is more effective than oral MTX and may provide significant benefit even in patients in whom oral MTX proved to be inadequate. The increased efficacy of SC MTX resulting from higher drug exposure compared with oral MTX has been associated with a similar safety profile and in various reports even with a lower frequency of gastrointestinal complaints. The aim of this article was to review the available literature data on SC MTX treatment of inflammatory arthritis, with special emphasis on RA and psoriasis, examining differences with oral MTX treatment. A brief mention of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamic features and pharmacoeconomic considerations is also given.

          Most cited references54

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          Comparison of the clinical efficacy and safety of subcutaneous versus oral administration of methotrexate in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: results of a six-month, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled, phase IV trial.

          To compare the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous (SC) versus oral administration of methotrexate (MTX) in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). MTX-naive patients with active RA (Disease Activity Score in 28 joints >or= 4) were eligible for the study if they had not previously taken biologic agents and had not taken disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for 2 weeks prior to randomization. Patients were randomly assigned to receive 15 mg/week of MTX either orally (2 7.5-mg tablets plus a dummy prefilled syringe; n=187 patients) or SC (prefilled syringe containing 10 mg/ml plus 2 dummy tablets; n=188 patients) for 24 weeks. At week 16, patients who did not meet the American College of Rheumatology criteria for 20% improvement (ACR20) were switched from 15 mg of oral MTX to 15 mg of SC MTX and from 15 mg of SC MTX to 20 mg of SC MTX for the remaining 8 weeks, still in a blinded manner. The primary outcome was an ACR20 response at 24 weeks. At week 24, significantly more patients treated with SC MTX than with oral MTX showed ACR20 (78% versus 70%) and ACR70 (41% versus 33%) responses. Patients with a disease duration >or= 12 months had even higher ACR20 response rates (89% for SC administration and 63% for oral). In 52 of the ACR20 nonresponders (14%), treatment was switched at week 16. Changing from oral to SC MTX and from 15 mg to 20 mg of SC MTX resulted in 30% and 23% ACR20 response rates, respectively, in these patients. MTX was well tolerated. The rate of adverse events was similar in all groups. This 6-month prospective, randomized, controlled trial is the first to examine oral versus SC administration of MTX. We found that SC administration was significantly more effective than oral administration of the same MTX dosage. There was no difference in tolerability.
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            Head-to-head, randomised, crossover study of oral versus subcutaneous methotrexate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: drug-exposure limitations of oral methotrexate at doses ≥15 mg may be overcome with subcutaneous administration

            Objective To compare the relative bioavailability, safety and tolerability of oral methotrexate (MTX) and subcutaneous (SC) MTX administered via an auto-injector (MTXAI) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods In this randomised, multicenter, open-label, three-way crossover study, patients ≥18 years with adult RA undergoing treatment with MTX for ≥3 months were assigned to receive MTX 10, 15, 20 and 25 mg weekly in a random sequence of three treatments: oral, SC into the abdomen and SC into the thigh. For 24 h after administration of each treatment, blood samples were collected for pharmacokinetic analysis and injection sites were assessed. Results Forty-seven patients completed the study. Systemic exposure of oral MTX plateaued at doses ≥15 mg/week. In contrast, SC MTX demonstrated a linear increase in systemic exposure that was greater than oral MTX at each dose. No unexpected AEs were noted for either formulation. Conclusions Unlike oral MTX, the systemic exposure of SC MTX did not plateau over the doses studied, particularly at doses ≥15 mg/week. In this study, higher systemic MTX exposure was not associated with increases in AEs. Patients with an inadequate clinical response to oral MTX may benefit from higher drug exposure by switching to SC MTX. Trial registration number NCT01618968.
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              Methotrexate in psoriasis: a systematic review of treatment modalities, incidence, risk factors and monitoring of liver toxicity.

              To define practical use and to specify the ideal method for monitoring the liver toxicity of MTX in the management of psoriasis. To systematically review the literature regarding treatment modalities with methotrexate (MTX) in psoriasis, risk of MTX-mediated liver fibrosis and monitoring of hepatic toxicity. A systematic literature search was carried out in Medline, Embase and Cochrane Library databases from 1980 to 2010 searching for randomized controlled trials and observational studies on methods of administering MTX in psoriasis and risk factors and assessment of liver toxicity. We limited the literature search to articles on human subjects over 19 years of age, articles in English or French on psoriasis and articles including psoriatic arthritis and original data. Among 949 references identified, 23 published studies were included. There were no studies focusing directly on the question of MTX treatment modalities. Treatment outcome appears to be dose dependent. A single study in rheumatoid arthritis showed the slightly superior efficacy of subcutaneous administration vs. oral dosing with a similar safety profile. Combination with folic acid may decrease the efficacy of MTX while improving tolerability. The extreme variability of the incidence of hepatic fibrosis in the literature does not allow the risk of hepatic fibrosis to be quantified. Type 2 diabetes and obesity, were associated with a significant increased risk of liver fibrosis. Hepatitis B and C and alcohol consumption were associated with a modest and non-significant increased risk of liver fibrosis. Procollagen III for detection of hepatic fibrosis dosing was the most extensively validated method to monitor liver fibrosis showing a sensitivity of 77.3% and a specificity of 91.5%. The Positive Predictive Value and Negative Predictive Value fluctuated depending on the prevalence of hepatic fibrosis. The sensitivities of the FibroTest and the fibroscan were of 83 and 50%, respectively, with specific features amounting to 61 and 88% respectively. Based on expert experience, the starting dose of MTX is between 5 and 10 mg/week for the first week. Fast dose escalation is recommended in order to obtain a therapeutic target dose of 15-25 mg/week. The maximum recommended dose is 25 mg/week. A folic acid supplement is necessary. The initiation of treatment by oral administration is preferred. In cases where inadequate response is obtained or in the event of poor gastrointestinal tolerance, subcutaneous dosing can be proposed at the same dose. Published data do not confirm the incidence of hepatic fibrosis. Type 2 diabetes and obesity appear to be significant risk factors in fibrosis. A combination of FibroTests and fibroscans together with measurement of the type III serum procollagen aminopeptide seem to be ideal method for monitoring liver toxicity. © 2011 The Authors. JEADV © 2011 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Managementt
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                09 January 2018
                : 14
                : 105-116
                [1 ]Dermatology and Venereology Private Practice, Bari
                [2 ]Dermatology and Venereology Private Practice, Barletta
                [3 ]Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, Rheumatology Unit, University of Bari, Bari, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Gino Antonio Vena, Dermatology and Venereology Private Practice, Via Fanelli, 206/16, 70125, Bari, Italy, Tel +39 080 502 5794, Fax +39 080 394 3363, Email ginovena@ 123456gmail.com
                © 2018 Vena et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.


                subcutaneous methotrexate,efficacy,tolerability,juvenile idiopathic arthritis,rheumatoid arthritis,psoriatic disease


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