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Adherence to current recommendations on the use of methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis in Italy: results from the MARI study

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14


  1. Department of Rheumatology, Istituto Ortopedico Gaetano Pini, Milano, Italy.
  2. Department of Rheumatology, ASL3, Azienda Sanitaria Genovese, Genova, Italy.
  3. Rheumatology Unit, ASST Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda, Milano, Italy.
  4. Department of Rheumatology, ASL TO4, Ospedale di Ivrea, Italy.
  5. Department of Rheumatology, Azienda ICP Milano, presidio Ospedaliero E. Bassini, Milano, Italy.
  6. Department of Internal Medicine, O.C. di Vittorio Veneto, Vittorio Veneto, Italy.
  7. Department of Internal Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera Istituti Ospitalieri di Cremona, Italy.
  8. Department of Internal Medicine, Ospedale Regina Apostolorum, Albano Laziale, Italy.
  9. Department of Rheumatology, Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedali Riuniti Papardo-Piemonte di Messina, Messina, Italy.
  10. Department of Internal Medicine, AO San Gerardo Monza, Università Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.
  11. Department of Rheumatology, ASO Santa Croce e Carle, Cuneo, Italy.
  12. Department of Internal Medicine, Ospedale Valduce, Como, Italy.
  13. Department of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico di Milano, Italy.
  14. Department of Rheumatology, Istituto Ortopedico Gaetano Pini, Milano, Italy.

2016 Vol.34, N°3
PI 0473, PF 0479
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PMID: 27050478 [PubMed]

Received: 26/09/2015
Accepted : 10/12/2015
In Press: 25/03/2016
Published: 30/05/2016


The aim of this study was to assess how the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with methotrexate (MTX) in Italy is adherent to current national recommendations.
We performed a cross-sectional and retrospective analysis of data collected from the MARI study, a multicentre survey on Italian patients with RA on treatment with MTX for at least 12 months. Retrospective data included patient’s clinical history, previous treatment with MTX, screening tests performed before MTX prescription. Cross-sectional data were collected about current treatment with MTX, concomitant medications, and disease activity. Each proposition of the 2013 Italian recommendations on the use of MTX in RA was reformulated in terms of audit criteria, and adherence to provided indications was evaluated for every patient.
Among the 1336 included patients, less than 40% had started treatment with MTX within 3-6 months from the diagnosis and nearly 30% of them were prescribed with an initial dose of MTX between 12.5 and 15 mg/week. Screening for HBV and HCV infection as well as chest x-ray was performed in a proportion of patients around 60% and more than 90% of them underwent lab tests before MTX prescription and regularly throughout the treatment. Folic acid supplementation was given at recommended dosages in a high proportion of patients.
Our survey showed a good adherence of Italian rheumatologists to recommendations regarding safety issues with MTX in RA, but a suboptimal approach in terms of time and dosage of the treatment in the early phases of the disease.

Rheumatology Article