Study results, presented at the 2010 American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, revealed that people with newly-developed rheumatoid arthritis or undifferentiated arthritis could achieve remission after four months of taking a combination of methotrexate and prednisone. For purposes of the study, "newly-developed" was defined as rheumatoid arthritis that developed less than two years before study onset -- and "undifferentiated arthritis" was defined as having arthritis in more than one joint and being at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers followed 261 people with rheumatoid arthritis and 161 people with undifferentiated arthritis who were taking 25 mg of methotrexate per week and 60 mg of prednisone per day. The prednisone was tapered down to 7.5 mg per day over 7 weeks. Remission was achieved in more than 58% of the rheumatoid arthritis patients and more than 66% of those with undifferentiated arthritis.
Researchers concluded that in patients with early or less active rheumatoid arthritis, the addition of a tapered dose of prednisone to methotrexate can be an effective treatment. A second phase of the study is planned.
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