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Ann Rheum Dis 67:370-374 doi:10.1136/ard.2007.073445
  • Extended report

The magnitude of early response to methotrexate therapy predicts long-term outcome of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis

  1. M Bartoli1,
  2. M Tarò2,
  3. S Magni-Manzoni1,
  4. A Pistorio2,
  5. F Traverso2,
  6. S Viola2,
  7. A Magnani2,
  8. C Gasparini1,
  9. A Martini2,
  10. A Ravelli2
  1. 1
    Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Policlinico S. Matteo, Pavia, Italy
  2. 2
    Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico G. Gaslini, Genova, Italy
  1. A Ravelli, Pediatria II, Istituto G. Gaslini, Largo G. Gaslini 5, 16147 Genova, Italy; angeloravelli{at}ospedale-gaslini.ge.it
  • Accepted 14 July 2007
  • Published Online First 27 July 2007

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the relationship between the magnitude of clinical response in the first 6 months of methotrexate (MTX) therapy and long-term outcome in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Methods: The clinical charts of 125 JIA patients who were started with MTX and then followed for at least 5 years were reviewed. Based on the level of American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Pediatric response at 6 months, patients were divided in four mutually exclusive groups: (1) non-responders, (2) responders at 30%, (3) responders at 50%, and (4) responders at 70%. The long-term outcome in each response group was evaluated by calculating the percentage change in active and restricted joint counts from baseline to 1, 2 and 5 years and the frequency of inactive disease at 5 years.

Results: At 6 months, 42 patients were classified as non-responders, 24 as 30% responders, 26 as 50% responders, and 33 as 70% responders. Patients who had achieved a 70% response showed a significantly greater percentage improvement in active joint count between baseline to 5 years compared with non-responders and 30% responders, and a significantly greater percentage improvement in restricted joint count between baseline to 5 years compared with 30% responders. The 70% responders also had a greater frequency of inactive disease at 5 years compared with 30% responders,

Conclusions: Our results show that the achievement of an ACR Pediatric 70 response at 6 months after start of MTX therapy predicts a more favorable long-term outcome of patients with JIA.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.