Prediction of primary non-response to methotrexate therapy using demographic, clinical and psychosocial variables: results from the UK Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication Study (RAMS)

Posted on 2018-07-13 - 05:00
Abstract Background Methotrexate (MTX) remains the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug of first choice in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) but response varies. Predicting non-response to MTX could enable earlier access to alternative or additional medications and control of disease progression. We aimed to identify baseline predictors of non-response to MTX and combine these into a prediction algorithm. Methods This study included patients recruited to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication Study (RAMS), a UK multi-centre prospective observational study of patients with RA or undifferentiated polyarthritis, commencing MTX for the first time. Non-response to MTX at 6 months was defined as “no response” using the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria, discontinuation of MTX due to inefficacy or starting biologic therapy. The association of baseline demographic, clinical and psychosocial predictors with non-response was assessed using logistic regression. Predictive performance was assessed using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and calibration plots. Results Of 1050 patients, 449 (43%) were classified as non-responders. Independent multivariable predictors of MTX non-response (OR (95% CI)) were rheumatoid factor (RF) negativity (0.62 (0.45, 0.86) for RF positivity versus negativity), higher Health Assessment Questionnaire score (1.64 (1.25, 2.15)), higher tender joint count (1.06 (1.02, 1.10)), lower Disease Activity score in 28 joints (0.29 (0.23, 0.39)) and higher Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety score (1.07 (1.03, 1.12)). The optimism-corrected AUC was 0.74. Conclusions This is the first model for MTX non-response to be developed in a large contemporary study of patients commencing MTX in which demographic, clinical and psychosocial predictors were considered. Patient anxiety was a predictor of non-response and could be addressed at treatment commencement.


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