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Are switches from oral to subcutaneous methotrexate or addition of ciclosporin to methotrexate useful steps in a tight control treatment strategy for rheumatoid arthritis? A post hoc analysis of the CAMERA study
  1. M F Bakker1,
  2. J W G Jacobs1,
  3. P M J Welsing1,2,
  4. J H van der Werf3,
  5. S P Linn-Rasker4,
  6. M J van der Veen5,
  7. F P J G Lafeber1,
  8. J W J Bijlsma1
  9. on behalf of the Utrecht Arthritis Cohort Study Group
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Rheumatology, Diakonessenhuis, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Rheumatology, Meander Medical Center, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  5. 5Department of Rheumatology, St Jansdal Hospital, Harderwijk, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to M F Bakker, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, F02.127, PO Box 85500, Utrecht 3508 GA, The Netherlands; m.f.bakker-4{at}umcutrecht.nl

Abstract

Objective To investigate the effects of a switch from oral methotrexate (MTX) to subcutaneous MTX (scMTX) or adding ciclosporin to oral MTX with a simultaneous reduction of the MTX dose, in case of adverse events (AE) or insufficient effect (IE) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods The tight control treatment arm of the Computer Assisted Management in Early RA (CAMERA) trial was evaluated. The change in 28-joint Disease Activity Score (DAS28) after taking scMTX (over 1 month) or adding ciclosporin (over 3 months) was compared to the average monthly change in the preceding 3 months. Analyses were performed separately for strategy steps because of AE or IE.

Results Of 151 patients, 57 needed the scMTX strategy step (21 because of AE, 36 because of IE) and 40 the following ciclosporin strategy step (20 and 20, respectively). The decrease in DAS28 after taking the scMTX strategy step was 0.30 points (p<0.05); no significant change in DAS28 was seen after the ciclosporin strategy step. In both strategy steps for AE or IE, quite similar observations were made. Of the patients who took the scMTX strategy step, 63% showed improvement.

Conclusion scMTX seems a useful treatment step after oral MTX in a tight control strategy, whereas the ciclosporin step seems ineffective.

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Footnotes

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the METC UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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