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Effect of Two-week Discontinuation of Methotrexate on Efficacy of Seasonal Influenza Vaccination in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial (NCT02897011)

To investigate whether a transient discontinuation of methotrexate MTX for 2 weeks improves the vaccination response to a seasonal influenza.
  • Drug: Methotrexate
    Ages eligible for Study
    18 Years to 65 Years
    Genders eligible for Study
    Accepts Healthy Volunteers
    Inclusion Criteria:
    • Males or females ≥ 19 years and < 65 years of age at time of consent
    • Have a diagnosis of RA per ACR criteria
    • Must understand and voluntarily sign an informed consent form including writing consent for data protection
    • Stable doses of methotrexate over the preceding 6 weeks
    Exclusion Criteria:
    • Pregnant or lactating females
    • Previous anaphylactic response to vaccine components or to egg.
    • Acute infection with T >38°C at the time of vaccination
    • History of Guillain-Barre syndrome or demyelinating syndromes
    • Previous vaccination with any live vaccine 4 weeks before or any inactivated vaccine 2 weeks before the study
    • Blood transfusion within 6 months
    • Active rheumatoid arthritis necessitating a recent change in the drug regimen
    • Any other rheumatic disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus, mixed connective tissue disease, dermatomyositis/polymyositis, and vasculitis except for secondary Sjogren's disease
    • Any condition including laboratory abnormality which places the subject at unacceptable risk
    • Subjects who decline to participate
    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease that affects the joints as the main target of the inflammation. Patients with RA require chronic treatment with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including methotrexate (MTX), which constitutes the mainstay of treatment. Underlying immune dysfunction and the additional immune suppression associated with treatment render patients with RA more susceptible to infection. Thus, vaccination of the preventive diseases is crucial and recommended in all patients unless contraindicated.

    However, low dose of glucocorticoids, conventional DMARDs and biological DMARDs including tumor necrosis factor inhibitors have been reported to substantially decrease vaccine response (4); MTX has been reported to be associated with a decreased response to seasonal influenza vaccination by up to 15%.

    To optimize a vaccine response, vaccination should be administrated before the treatment with immunesuppressive medications is initiated. However, most patients with RA are already on stable dose of MTX at the time of when vaccinations. To improve the vaccine response, a short term discontinuation of MTX could be considered. In a prior study, we discovered that a temporary discontinuation of MTX for 4 weeks during peri-vaccination period tended to be associated with an improved response to vaccination with trivalent influenza vaccination (Figure 1). It remains to be defined whether MTX discontinuation for shorter period increases the vaccination efficacy while minimizing the RA flare rate.

    3 locations

    Korea, Republic of (3)
    • Seoul National Univ. Bundang Hospital
      Bundang, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, Republic of, 463-870
    • Seoul National University Hospital
      Seoul, Korea, Republic of, 110-744
    • SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center
      Seoul, Korea, Republic of, 156-707
    31 August, 2016
    25 October, 2016
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