J Korean Rheum Assoc.  2009 Mar;16(1):16-22. 10.4078/jkra.2009.16.1.16.

Hepatotoxicity of Combination Treatment with Leflunomide and Methotrexate in RA Patients

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Inje University, Goyang, Korea. byyoon@paik.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, NHIC Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea.
  • 3Withus Medical Clinic, Goyang, Korea.

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
Leflunomide is the newest disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) that is known to have an equivalent clinical efficacy and tolerability to methotrexate (MTX). Previous studies reported that a co-treatment with MTX and leflunomide can induce additive clinical improvements in RA patients. However, a previous study also demonstrated a reversible elevation of the transaminase levels in up to 63% of patients administered a combination treatment of leflunomide and MTX. This study examined the hepatotoxicity of a combination treatment of MTX and leflunomide.
METHODS
From March, 2004, to February, 2006, 203 patients who had been treated in 3 rheumatology clinics, Goyang city, South Korea, were reviewed retrospectively. The data showed that 38.92% of patients scored higher than grade 1 hepatotoxicity and 6.90% of patients scored higher than grade 2 according to the NCI/NIH (National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health) Common Toxicity Criteria.
RESULTS
The median onset time of hepatotoxicity was 5.91 months after treatment. Leflunomide administration was stopped in 39 patients due to several adverse reactions. Among the 39 patients, hepatotoxicity was observed in only 20.51%, suggesting that the hepatotoxicity was not more frequent than expected. Hepatotoxicity did not increase in proportion to the dose of leflunomide and MTX, age, gender, and disease activity.
CONCLUSION
These results indicate that a combined treatment of leflunomide and MTX can be used safely by monitoring the liver enzyme, particularly in the first six months.

Keyword

Hepatotoxicity; Leflunomide; MTX; Combination treatment

MeSH Terms

Academies and Institutes
Humans
Isoxazoles
Liver
Methotrexate
Republic of Korea
Retrospective Studies
Rheumatology
Isoxazoles
Methotrexate
Full Text Links
  • JKRA
Actions
Cited
CITED
export Copy
Close
Share
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2022 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr