HealthDay News — Adverse events are common among patients during the first year of treatment with methotrexate for early rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study published online January 25 in Rheumatology.

Ahmad A. Sherbini, from University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used data from the UK Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication Study to estimate prevalence rates and identify baseline predictors of adverse events during the first year of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis among those starting methotrexate. The analysis included 1069 patients with 6- and 12-month follow-up visits.

The researchers found that 77.5% of adults reported at least 1 adverse event, with gastrointestinal (42.0%), neurological (28.6%), mucocutaneous (26.0%), pulmonary (20.9%), elevated alanine transaminase (18.0%), and hematologic (5.6%) adverse events being the most common. Increased odds of adverse events were seen for women vs men (gastrointestinal, mucocutaneous, neurological) and those reporting alcohol consumption (nausea, alopecia, mucocutaneous). For hematologic adverse events, less reporting was seen with older age, higher estimated glomerular filtration rate, and alcohol consumption.

“Knowledge of the rates and factors associated with adverse events occurrence are valuable when communicating risks prior to commencing methotrexate,” the authors write. “This can help patients make informed decisions whether to start methotrexate, potentially increasing adherence to treatment.”

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