Methotrexate use and risk of lung disease in psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease: systematic literature review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relative risk of pulmonary disease among patients with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease treated with methotrexate. DATA SOURCES: PubMed, Cochrane central register of controlled trials, and Embase to 9 January 2014. STUDY SELECTION: Double blind randomised controlled trials of methotrexate versus placebo or active comparator agents in adults with psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, or inflammatory bowel disease. Studies with fewer than 50 participants or of less than 12 weeks' duration were excluded. DATA SYNTHESIS: Two investigators independently searched both databases. All authors reviewed selected studies. We compared relative risk differences using the Mantel-Haenszel random effects method to assess total respiratory adverse events, infectious respiratory adverse events, non-infectious respiratory adverse events, interstitial lung disease, and death. RESULTS: Seven studies met our inclusion criteria, six with placebo as the comparator. Heterogeneity across the studies was not significant (I(2)=0%), allowing combination of trial results. 504 respiratory adverse events were documented in 1630 participants. Methotrexate was not associated with an increased risk of adverse respiratory events (relative risk 1.03, 95% confidence interval 0.90 to 1.17), respiratory infections (1.02, 0.88 to 1.19), or non-infectious respiratory events (1.07, 0.58 to 1.96). No pulmonary deaths occurred. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggested that there was no increased risk of lung disease in methotrexate treated patients with non-malignant inflammatory diseases. Given the limitations of the study, however, we cannot exclude a small but clinically important risk.
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