JOURNAL ARTICLE

Low-dose prednisolone in rheumatoid arthritis: adverse effects of various disease modifying antirheumatic drugs

Olga A Malysheva, Matthias Wahle, Ulf Wagner, Matthias Pierer, Sybille Arnold, Holm Häntzschel, Cristoph G O Baerwald
Journal of Rheumatology 2008, 35 (6): 979-85
18412314

OBJECTIVE: To assess the incidence and severity of disease modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD)-induced adverse effects (AE) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) taking/not taking glucocorticoids (GC). More specifically, we tested whether GC can prolong the survival time of DMARD in patients receiving combination therapy.

METHODS: In a retrospective study of 154 patients with RA, data were examined for DMARD therapy and duration of low-dose GC ((3/4) 7.5 mg prednisone equivalent/day). Patients were followed for 2-62 months, and AE were graded following WHO criteria.

RESULTS: GC therapy significantly increased the duration of therapy with sulfasalazine (SSZ) from 10.4 +/- 2.3 to 22.5 +/- 1.9 months and for methotrexate (MTX) from 21.8 +/- 2.9 to 43.3 +/- 2.7 months. Stratifying the withdrawal of DMARD for occurrence of AE and loss of efficacy revealed that GC comedication significantly increased the time until AE for users of MTX (3.0 +/- 0.6 vs 18.8 +/- 1.3 mo; p < 0.05), hydroxychloroquine (HCQ; 34.5 +/- 4.6 vs 54.4 +/- 5.1 mo; p < 0.05), and gold (6.6 +/- 0.9 vs 10.5 +/- 0.9 mo; p < 0.05). In patients taking SSZ the time until cessation due to loss of efficacy increased significantly under GC comedication (16.8 +/- 1.2 vs 31.3 +/- 2.9 mo; p < 0.05). However, in patients taking azathioprine (AZA) the duration of therapy decreased from 44.4 +/- 2.6 to 22.3 +/- 1.6 months under GC due to both time until AE and loss of efficacy. Patients under comedication of MTX + GC, HCQ + GC, and AZA + GC experienced significantly more AE compared to the respective DMARD monotherapy. A highly significant reduction was observed in the frequency of erosive RA in patients with GC comedication (n = 30; 49.1%) compared to patients without low-dose GC (n = 81, 80.4%; OR 4.05, 95% CI 1.91-8.66, p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Low-dose GC retard radiological progression of RA and exhibit a differential effect on survival of DMARD and degree of AE due to DMARD. Further studies are warranted to address safety and interactions of chronic low-dose GC in RA patients treated with DMARD.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
18412314
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"