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Tolerability and Adherence Problems in Patients on a Stable Dose of Methotrexate: Results of a Multicentre Survey

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Walker


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Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Introduction: Methotrexate is commonly used in patients with inflammatory arthritis. The aim of the present study was to ascertain the prevalence of side effects that patients on methotrexate were tolerating and to establish their adherence to the medication. Method: A questionnaire was developed for completion by the healthcare professional with the patient, and piloted in one centre. The questionnaire was then used in six other centres, with the addition of a question about the attractiveness of stopping methotrexate treatment. Efficacy and toxicities were scored for severity on a 10-cm visual analogue scale (VAS). Adherence to the drug was also explored. Results: The prevalence of ‘any side effect’ ranged from 57% to 86%. The most frequent side effects were fatigue (53%); nausea (38%); mouth ulcers (23%) and hair loss (23%). Efficacy averaged 6.5 cm on the VAS. Results from the combined survey revealed that toxicity averaged 5.9 cm for fatigue, 4.8 cm for nausea, 4.4 for mouth ulcers, 3.9 cm for hair loss and 5.7 cm for ‘other’ side effects. 13.5% of patients revealed that they had forgotten to take the drug for an average of two weeks, and 25% for an average of 2.5 weeks in the previous year. Participants were more likely to reveal this to a nurse than a doctor. Conclusion: Patients put up with a considerable number of side effects in order to benefit from methotrexate therapy. Adherence to this drug merits further study. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robinson S, Gibson S, George E, Martin U, Heslop P, Wrightson H, Prowse P, Kalinowski M, Marshall D, Reed M, Adebajo A, Walker D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Musculoskeletal Care

Year: 2016

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 152-155

Print publication date: 01/09/2016

Online publication date: 08/12/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1478-2189

ISSN (electronic): 1557-0681

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/msc.1129

PubMed id: 26643752


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