Methotrexate is not associated with an increased risk of pulmonary disease in patients taking it for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, or inflammatory bowel disease, a meta-analysis has found.
The analysis of results from seven double-blind, randomized, controlled studies, involving a total of 1,640 participants, showed no increased risk of total adverse respiratory events – infectious or noninfectious – or pulmonary deaths in patients taking methotrexate, compared with controls, according to Dr. Richard Conway of the department of rheumatology at Galway (Ireland) University Hospitals and his coauthors.
Methotrexate has previously been implicated as a cause of lung toxicity, and the prevalence of methotrexate-related interstitial lung disease has been reported as high as 11.6% in rheumatoid arthritis, but studies of methotrexate-induced lung disease are confounded by the higher risk of pulmonary infections among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the authors said (BMJ 2015 [doi:10.1136/bmj.h1269]).
“These findings, coupled with those of a previous study in rheumatoid arthritis, suggest that methotrexate-related lung disease is rare, if it exists at all,” the investigators wrote.
The investigators had no specific source of funding for the study and had no conflicts of interest to declare.