Methotrexate treatment in early psoriatic arthritis in comparison to rheumatoid arthritis: an observational nationwide study

Ulf Lindström, Daniela Di Giuseppe, Sofia Exarchou, Gerd Marie Alenius, Tor Olofsson, Eva Klingberg, Lennart Jacobsson, Johan Askling, Johan K. Wallman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction We aimed to compare the proportions of patients with newly diagnosed psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remaining on methotrexate (regardless of other disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD)-changes), and proportions not having started another DMARD (regardless of methotrexate discontinuation), within 2 years of starting methotrexate, as well as methotrexate effectiveness. Methods Patients with DMARD-naïve, newly diagnosed PsA, starting methotrexate 2011-2019, were identified from high-quality national Swedish registers and matched 1:1 to comparable patients with RA. Proportions remaining on methotrexate and not starting another DMARD were calculated. For patients with disease activity data at baseline and 6 months, response to methotrexate monotherapy was compared through logistic regression, applying non-responder imputation. Results In total, 3642/3642 patients with PsA/RA were included. Baseline patient-reported pain and global health were similar, whereas patients with RA had higher 28-joint scores and evaluator-assessed disease activity. Two years after methotrexate start, 71% of PsA vs 76% of patients with RA remained on methotrexate, 66% vs 60% had not started any other DMARD, and 77% vs 74% had not started specifically a biological or targeted synthetic DMARD. At 6 months, the proportions of patients with PsA versus RA achieving pain-scores ≤15 mm were 26% vs 36%; global health ≤20 mm: 32% vs 42%; evaluator-assessed 'remission': 20% vs 27%, with corresponding adjusted ORs (PsA vs RA) of 0.63 (95% CI 0.47 to 0.85); 0.57 (95% CI 0.42 to 0.76) and 0.54 (95% CI 0.39 to 0.75). Discussion In Swedish clinical practice, methotrexate use is similar in PsA and RA, both regarding initiation of other DMARDs and methotrexate retention. On a group level, disease activity improved during methotrexate monotherapy in both diseases, although more so in RA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002883
JournalRMD Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity

Free keywords

  • Arthritis, Psoriatic
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid
  • Methotrexate


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