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152559 - METHODS - A randomised controlled trial of METhotrexate to treat Hand Osteoarthritis.pdf (1009.28 kB)

METHODS - A randomised controlled trial of METhotrexate to treat Hand Osteoarthritis with Synovitis: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

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posted on 2023-05-21, 12:21 authored by Wang, Y, Teichtahl, AJ, Jones, G, Keen, HI, Hill, CL, Wluka, AE, Kasza, J, Cicuttini, FM

Background: Hand osteoarthritis is a common and disabling problem without effective therapies. Accumulating evidence suggests the role of local inflammation in causing pain and structural progression in hand osteoarthritis, and hand osteoarthritis with synovitis is a commonly encountered clinical phenotype. Methotrexate is a well-established, low-cost, and effective treatment for inflammatory arthritis with a well-described safety profile. The aim of this multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is to determine whether methotrexate reduces pain over 6 months in patients with hand osteoarthritis and synovitis.

Methods: Ninety-six participants with hand osteoarthritis and synovitis will be recruited through the Osteoarthritis Clinical Trial Network (Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, and Perth), and randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio to receive either methotrexate 20 mg or identical placebo once weekly for 6 months. The primary outcome is pain reduction (assessed by 100 mm visual analogue scale) at 6 months. The secondary outcomes include changes in physical function and quality of life assessed using Functional Index for Hand Osteoarthritis, Australian Canadian Osteoarthritis Hand Index, Health Assessment Questionnaire, Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire, Short-Form-36, tender and swollen joint count, and grip strength, and structural progression assessed using progression of synovitis and bone marrow lesions from magnetic resonance imaging and radiographic progression at 6 months. Adverse events will be recorded. The primary analysis will be by intention to treat, including all participants in their randomised groups.

Discussion: This study will provide high-quality evidence to address whether methotrexate has an effect on reducing pain over 6 months in patients with hand osteoarthritis and synovitis, with major clinical and public health importance. While a positive trial will inform international clinical practice guidelines for the management of hand osteoarthritis, a negative trial would be highly topical and change current trends in clinical practice.


Publication title

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders



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Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Biomed Central Ltd

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Middlesex House, 34-42 Cleveland St, London, England, W1T 4Lb

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© 2021 The Author(s). Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)

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