Stethoscope on top of Calendar

Rheumatoid arthritis patients who took what MedPage Today calls a “methotrexate holiday” — abstaining from the disease-modifying antirheumatic drug for two weeks following an influenza vaccination — saw “modestly stronger” immune responses than did those who stayed on methotrexate. That’s according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual meeting in San Diego.

Jin Kyun Park, of South Korea’s Seoul National University Hospital, and colleagues studied 316 RA patients in late 2016 and early 2017. They found that 75.5 percent of the group that withheld methotrexate achieved “satisfactory vaccine response,” compared to 54.5 percent of the group that stayed on the DMARD, they note in the abstract.

“Disease activity after vaccination did not differ between both groups,” the add.

MedPage reports that Park said at an ACR press briefing that the results, “if confirmed in a prospective trial directly addressing clinical protection against infection, which this one did not,” could alter medical practice. “He also suggested that the same results could well apply in other immune diseases for which methotrexate is prescribed, such as inflammatory bowel disease,” MedPage adds.

Read the full MedPage Today write-up here.