Methotrexate tied to reduced dementia risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

  • Newby D & al.
  • Alzheimers Res Ther
  • 6 Apr 2020

  • curated by Sarfaroj Khan
  • UK Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Prior methotrexate use was associated with a lower risk of a subsequent dementia diagnosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Methotrexate use for >4 years was associated with the lowest risk.

Why this matters

  • Findings highlight the potential of methotrexate to protect against dementia and warrant further studies to clarify the association between prior methotrexate use and duration, as well as biological therapies with dementia risk.

Study design

  • This retrospective, matched, case-control study included 1127 patients with RA (aged ≥50 years; 486 dementia diagnosis and 641 controls) using electronic health records in the UK, Spain, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
  • Funding: The National Institute for Health Research.

Key results

  • After adjustment for potential confounders, prior methotrexate use was associated with a reduced risk for dementia (OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.52-0.98; P=.034).
  • Patients who received methotrexate for >4 years had the lowest risk of dementia (OR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.17-0.79; P=.011).
  • Sulfasalazine use was not linked with dementia (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.57-1.37; P=.57).

Limitations

  • Retrospective design.
  • Study only investigated the effect of methotrexate and sulfasalazine.