Methotrexate may reduce the risk of death in rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to study results published in the February 2013 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism. Researchers assessed the association of mortality and treatment with methotrexate in about 5,000 rheumatoid arthritis patients at 10 rheumatology practices in the U.S. The data used in the study was collected from 1981 to 2005.
Among patients taking methotrexate, there was up to a 70% lower risk of death compared to patients not taking methotrexate. This significant and beneficial effect appeared to occur after patients took methotrexate for more than one year. The effect did not continue to increase with longer duration of use, meaning, the benefit is not cumulative. According to researchers, it appears that methotrexate must be taken continuously on its prescribed schedule to maintain therapeutic effects.
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