Methotrexate for ankylosing spondylitis

Department of Hematology and Rheumatology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China. .
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2013; 2(2):CD004524. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004524.pub4
Source: PubMed


Researchers in the Cochrane Collaboration conducted a review about the effect of the drug methotrexate in people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). They identified three studies, which included 116 participants, that met the inclusion criteria. The review shows that for people with AS: - methotrexate probably improves physical function but this may have happened by chance. - it is uncertain whether methotrexate will help to ease pain, tenderness, and swelling in the ligaments of the joints, movement of the spine, stiffness, or overall well-being because there were not enough participants studied. - it is uncertain whether methotrexate slows damage to the joints because the studies did not look at an x-ray of the spines of the people with AS. We often do not have precise information about side effects and complications. This is particularly true for rare but serious side effects. Possible side effects include stomach problems, mild headaches, mouth sores, changes in liver function, hair loss, or mild infections. Rare complications may include lung problems. It is important to keep medical appointments to catch any serious problems early. What is AS and what is methotrexate? AS is a type of arthritis that usually occurs in the joints and ligaments of the spine. It may also affect the shoulders, hips, or other joints. Pain and stiffness occurs and limits movement in the back and in other joints that are affected. Methotrexate (MTX) is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). It is the most commonly used DMARD in people with inflammation in their joints. It works to control inflammation in affected joints to stop the pain and stiffness. MTX is taken once per week and may be administered in pill form or as an injection.

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