Background Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with a combination of methotrexate (MTX)+adalimumab (ADA) is more effective than ADA monotherapy. We assessed the toxicity of different doses of MTX and treatment efficacy of ADA+MTX in two trials. Methods Data originated from CONCERTO, in patients with early RA initiating ADA+ 2.5, 5, 10 or 20 mg/week MTX for 26 weeks; and MUSICA, in patients with an inadequate response to MTX initiating ADA+ 7.5 or 20 mg/week MTX for 24 weeks. Efficacy was assessed by the American College of Rheumatology 50 (ACR50). Patient-reported MTX-related toxicity information was collected at each visit on 18 prespecified MTX-related adverse events (AE) in the MTX label. Results In CONCERTO, ACR50 rates increased over time, ranging from 54% to 68% at week 26, while AE rates remained steady, ranging from 2.4% to 17.8% at week 26. Of 395 patients, 113 (28.6%) reported 345 MTX-related AEs, including one serious AE (SAE, excessive fatigue and/or malaise); 10 AEs (in two patients) led to study discontinuation. In MUSICA, ACR50 rates increased over time, and were 32.3% and 37.5% at week 24, while MTX-related AE rates remained steady and were 6.5% at week 24. Of 309 patients, 71 (23%) reported 185 MTX-related AEs, including 5 SAEs (four infections and one fever/chills); six AEs (in four patients) led to study discontinuation. Conclusion In patients with RA initiating ADA+MTX combination, treatment efficacy was achieved and increased throughout both trials, while rates of MTX-related AEs remained steady. MTX-related AEs were observed in up to 30% of patients and most were mild. MTX was discontinued by 0.5%-1.3% of patients. Trial registration number MUSICA (NCT01185288), CONCERTO (NCT01185301), Post results.
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