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Ann Rheum Dis. 2018 Jun;77(6):898-904. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-213222. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Impact of temporary methotrexate discontinuation for 2 weeks on immunogenicity of seasonal influenza vaccination in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised clinical trial.

Author information

1
Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2
Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.
3
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
4
Division of Medical Statistics, Medical Research Collaborating Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
5
Division of Infectious Diseases, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether a 2-week methotrexate (MTX) discontinuation after vaccination improves the efficacy of seasonal influenza vaccination in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS:

In this prospective randomised parallel-group multicentre study, patients with RA on stable dose of MTX were randomly assigned at a ratio of 1:1 to continue MTX or to hold MTX for 2 weeks after 2016-2017 quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine containing H1N1, H3N2, B-Yamagata and B-Victoria. The primary outcome was frequency of satisfactory vaccine response, defined as greater than or equal to fourfold increase of haemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody titre at 4 weeks after vaccination against ≥2 of four vaccine strains. Secondary endpoints included seroprotection (ie, HI titre ≥1:40) rate, fold change in antibody titres.

RESULTS:

The modified intention-to-treat population included 156 patients in the MTX-continue group and 160 patients in the MTX-hold group. More patients in MTX-hold group achieved satisfactory vaccine response than the MTX-continue group (75.5% vs 54.5%, p<0.001). Seroprotection rate was higher in the MTX-hold group than the MTX-continue group for all four antigens (H1N1: difference 10.7%, 95% CI 2.0% to 19.3%; H3N2: difference 15.9%, 95% CI 5.9% to 26.0%; B-Yamagata: difference13.7%, 95% CI 5.2% to 22.4%; B-Victoria: difference 14.7%, 95% CI 4.5% to 25.0%). The MTX-hold group showed higher fold increase in their antibody titres against all four influenza antigens (all p<0.05). Change in disease activity was similar between groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

A temporary MTX discontinuation for 2 weeks after vaccination improves the immunogenicity of seasonal influenza vaccination in patients with RA without increasing RA disease activity.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

NCT02897011.

KEYWORDS:

discontinuation; influenza; methotrexate; rheumatoid arthritis; vaccination

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: EBL has acted as a consultant to Pfizer and received research grants from Green Cross Corporation and Hanmi Pharm.

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