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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Dec;48(12):1575-80. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kep291. Epub 2009 Oct 7.

Response of elderly patients with rheumatoid arthritis to methotrexate or TNF inhibitors compared with younger patients.

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Department of Rheumatology/Internal Medicine III, General Hospital-Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



To compare the efficacy of MTX and MTX+TNF inhibitors (TNFis) in elderly patients with RA with that in patients of younger age.


Data from two large, randomized, controlled, double-blind trials in patients with early RA using adalimumab or infliximab+MTX or MTX alone were obtained and pooled. Composite disease activity indices were calculated at baseline and 1 year of treatment, and compared in groups of patients classified by quartiles of age with the highest age group comprising 61-82 years using analysis of variance or Kruskal-Wallis test.


Across all age quartiles, improvement on MTX was similar with respect to changes of composite disease activity indices, assessment of physical function and X-ray progression. Likewise, TNFi+MTX had similar effects across all age groups, but the effects of the combination were more profound than those of MTX monotherapy. Also in 10% of the patients with the highest age, primarily septuagenarians, improvement was seen to a similar degree as in the younger ones.


Responsiveness of elderly patients with RA to MTX or TNFi+MTX is similar to that observed in patients of younger age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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