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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Methotrexate in the treatment of corticosteroid-dependent asthma. A double-blind crossover study.

To test our previous observation that methotrexate reduces corticosteroid requirements of patients with severe asthma, we studied 14 patients with corticosteroid-dependent bronchial asthma in a 24-week randomized double-blind crossover trial comparing a low dosage of methotrexate (15 mg per week) with placebo. At base line the mean dosage of prednisone was 173.5 mg per week (range, 70 to 420). On the average, 36.5 percent less prednisone was required when patients received methotrexate than when they received placebo (P = 0.01). Measurement of forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in one second showed that there was no deterioration in the condition of patients in whom the dosage of prednisone was reduced. The patients' subjective assessment of breathing ability indicated significant improvement (P = 0.01). The adverse effects of methotrexate were limited to transient nausea in three patients and an evanescent rash in one patient. Nine patients are still receiving methotrexate 3 to 10 months after the study's conclusion. The dosages of steroids have been further reduced in each of these patients, and prednisone has been discontinued in four. We conclude from this preliminary study that the use of methotrexate allows a significant reduction in the use of corticosteroids in patients with severe asthma without deterioration of pulmonary function.[1]


  1. Methotrexate in the treatment of corticosteroid-dependent asthma. A double-blind crossover study. Mullarkey, M.F., Blumenstein, B.A., Andrade, W.P., Bailey, G.A., Olason, I., Wetzel, C.E. N. Engl. J. Med. (1988) [Pubmed]
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