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Effect of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs on bone structure and strength in psoriatic arthritis patients.

OBJECTIVES: To address whether the use of methotrexate (MTX) and biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) impacts bone structure and biomechanical properties in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study in PsA patients receiving no DMARDs, MTX, or bDMARDs. Volumetric bone mineral densities (vBMDs), microstructural parameters, and biomechanical properties (stiffness/failure load) were determined by high-resolution peripheral quantitative CT and micro-finite element analysis in the respective groups. Bone parameters were compared between PsA patients with no DMARDs and those receiving any DMARDs, MTX, or bDMARDs, respectively.

RESULTS: One hundred sixty-five PsA patients were analyzed, 79 received no DMARDs, 86 received DMARDs, of them 52 bDMARDs (TNF, IL-17- or IL-12/23 inhibitors) and 34 MTX. Groups were balanced for age, sex, comorbidities, functional index, and bone-active therapy, while disease duration was longest in the bDMARD group (7.8 ± 7.4 years), followed by the MTX group (4.6 ± 7.4) and the no-DMARD group (2.9 ± 5.2). No difference in bone parameters was found between the no-DMARD group and the MTX group. In contrast, the bDMARD group revealed significantly higher total (p = 0.001) and trabecular vBMD (p = 0.005) as well as failure load (p = 0.012) and stiffness (p = 0.012). In regression models, age and bDMARDs influenced total vBMD, while age, sex, and bDMARDs influenced failure load and stiffness.

CONCLUSION: Despite longer disease duration, bDMARD-treated PsA patients benefit from higher bone mass and better bone strength than PsA patients receiving MTX or no DMARDs. These data support the concept of better control of PsA-related bone disease by bDMARDs.

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