Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that most often affects women in their 30s and 40s, especially women.The illness causes the immune system to attack the joints, which can cause pain, inflammation and joint destruction.
Methotrexate is the standard drug used to treat the condition, but one third of the patients discontinue treatment early due to toxicity.
Patients taking Methotrexate are prone for their drug-related liver damage .This complication can be prevented by taking folate supplements, researchers report.
The investigators found that patients who took folic acid or folinic acid supplements along with the arthritis drug methotrexate were less likely to have a liver related complications than those taking just methotrexate. Hence patients taking the folate supplements were able to continue their drug therapy for longer periods.
In their study which included 400 patients , came out with the figures which is as follows , after 48 weeks, 38% of patients taking the placebo had stopped treatment with methotrexate, compared with 17% of patients taking folic acid and 12% of patients taking folinic acid. It was also found that patients taking the placebo had higher levels of liver enzymes than patients taking folate supplements, which indicate toxicity to the liver.
The researchers also came out wiht the fact that any possible negative effect of folate supplementation on the efficacy of the drug can be overcome by increasing the dosage.