Safety of less frequent monitoring of liver transaminases levels in rheumatic patients treated with low-dose methotrexate

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Consideration of the safety of liver transaminases monitoring every 12 weeks in patients with inflammatory connective tissue disorders who are treated with methotrexate (MTX).


In a retrospective study, the data from rheumatic patients receiving MTX were analyzed. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were measured every 12 weeks. Based on the physician's final decision about the continuation of MTX, the patients were classified into one of the following groups: continuation of MTX without MTX dose reduction, MTX dose reduction, MTX discontinuation due to liver complication and MTX discontinuation due to other reasons.


A total of 809 patients who were on MTX were included in the study. The mean follow-up duration and the mean duration of treatment with MTX were 31.22 and 19.76 months, respectively. The mean accumulation dose of MTX was 865.85 mg. Due to the increase in the level of transaminases in 3.2% of the patients, MTX dose was reduced; and in 1.1% of the cases it was temporarily discontinued. In the follow-up of the patients with elevated transaminases, they returned to normal limits in 99.5% of patients; and only in four cases (0.5%) they remained elevated and MTX was discontinued. The probability of the patients remaining on MTX for 5 years without discontinuation for liver complications was 98.5%


Liver transaminase monitoring every 12 weeks for MTX-treated patients is safe.

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