Effects of low-dose tacrolimus therapy in combination with methotrexate in patients with methotrexate-refractory rheumatoid arthritis
Takeo Isozaki, Michihito Sato, Ryo Takahashi, Kuninobu Wakabayashi, Nobuyuki Yajima, Yusuke Miwa, Masao Negishi, Hirotsugu Ide, Tsuyoshi Kasama
Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Showa University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
Abstract: The aim of the present clinical trial was to determine the efficacy and safety of low-dose administration of tacrolimus in combination with methotrexate (MTX) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with an insufficient clinical response to MTX alone. Eleven patients with active RA, despite treatment with MTX, were enrolled and given tacrolimus in combination with MTX for 24 weeks. The primary endpoint was the assessment of clinical improvement using the European League against Rheumatism criteria. Administration of tacrolimus to RA patients with an insufficient response to MTX produced significant improvement in the Disease Activity Score 28 after 8–24 weeks. In addition, after 24 weeks, 50% and 25% of patients had achieved moderate and good responses, respectively, and there were significant reductions in the Modified Health Assessment Questionnaire, the rheumatoid factor and serum matrix metalloproteinase-3 levels. The present preliminary study suggests that low-dose tacrolimus in combination with MTX is well tolerated and provides both clinical and economic benefits.
Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, methotrexate, tacrolimus, DAS28, mHAQ
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