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Dig Dis Sci. 1985 Feb;30(2):104-9.

Low incidence of hepatotoxicity associated with long-term, low-dose oral methotrexate in treatment of refractory psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. An acceptable risk/benefit ratio.


Thirty patients with psoriasis or other nonmalignant diseases had liver biopsies done before treatment with low-dose methotrexate, 15 mg/week, and then at one- to two-year intervals as long as they continued the methotrexate. All patients were symptomatically improved on this regimen. The 15 patients who had normal liver biopsies at the start of the study had normal biopsies after methotrexate. Fifteen others had minor hepatic histologic abnormalities before treatment. Eleven patients had fatty infiltration. Ten showed no significant change after treatment while one had increased fat and portal fibrosis on a fourth liver biopsy done seven years after MTX was begun. This last patient, a former alcohol abuser, continued methotrexate and showed no further worsening at 8 years. The remaining four had portal fibrosis before treatment. One patient had less fibrosis after methotrexate, two patients slightly more fibrosis, and one a marked increase in portal fibrosis. No patient developed cirrhosis or clinical liver disease. Our results suggest that in the absence of alcohol consumption, low-dose weekly methotrexate treatment rarely causes clinically significant liver damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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