Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Summary One hundred and eighty-two liver biopsies were performed over a l0-year period on patients receiving long-term, low-dose, once weekly oral methotrexate (MTX) for severe psoriasis. Forty-nine patients had two or more biopsies during continued treatment and formed the study population for our analysis. The first and last biopsies were compared to determine progression of any hislological abnormalities. Liver biopsies were assessed without knowledge of the MTX dose and allocated to one of five groups according to the severity of the histological abnormalities. These were defined as: (11 normal: (2) steatosis alone: (3) inflammation without fibrosis: (4) librosis: and (51 cirrhosis. The mean cumulative dose of MTX at the time of the first biopsy was 2743 mg (range 315–10,024), given over 275 weeks (range 26–738). In the interval between the lirst and last biopsies, patients received, on average, a further 2362 mg (range 390–7155) over 225 weeks (range 60–460). There was improvement in the hislological assessment in 12 patients, no change in 28 patients, and deterioration in nine patients. None developed cirrhosis. Liver biopsy findings prompted discontinuation of MTX in four of the 49 patients on king-term treatment. This has to be weighed against the cost and morbidity of the 124 biopsies performed in these patients. Our results suggest that, wilh careful follow-up, the risk of development or progression of liver disease in patients receiving long-term, low-dose, once weekly oral MTX for psoriasis is modest, and that the requirement for performing routine liver biopsies in these patients needs to be reconsidered.
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