Clinical squeal of the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis patients with methotrexate (MTX) according to the Japanese government recommended dose of 8 mg/week was evaluated prospectively. A total of 176 patients with active RA attending Konan Kakogawa Hospital and Kobe University Hospital were enrolled. Patients' profile at the start of study was Class 2.0 ± 1.1 and X-ray stage 2.6 ± 1.0. The effects of MTX treatment were evaluated by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) core set, disease activity score of 28 joints (DAS28), and European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria. A modified Sharp method was used to evaluate the radiographs. The improvement in the clinical signs and symptoms of the ACR core set was maintained for a 24-month period (p < 0.05). The ACR20/50/70 and DAS28 were also improved at the 12- and 24-month assessments. However, 82 of 130 patients (63.5%) were found to be nonresponders at 24 months of MTX therapy, as evaluated by EULAR response criteria. The X-ray study showed that joint destruction progressed despite the treatment. Thus, long-term MTX treatment performed in accordance with the Japanese 8 mg/week regimen appears to be favorable in terms of the signs and symptoms of RA; however, it is clearly insufficient for and cannot halt the progression of rheumatic joint destruction.
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