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The experience of taking methotrexate for juvenile idiopathic arthritis: results of a cross-sectional survey with children and young people

Mulligan, K., Wedderburn, L. R. & Newman, S. P. (2015). The experience of taking methotrexate for juvenile idiopathic arthritis: results of a cross-sectional survey with children and young people. Pediatric Rheumatology, 13(1), article number 58. doi: 10.1186/s12969-015-0052-6


Background: Children and young people (CYP) with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) are known to have impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL), which is improved significantly for many by treatment with methotrexate (MTX). However, a significant proportion of CYP experience difficulties in taking MTX, which may reduce its potential benefits for HRQoL. The aim of this research was to examine how CYP with JIA perceive MTX treatment and how this relates to HRQoL.

Methods: CYP aged 8-16 years taking MTX for JIA completed an adapted Parent Adherence Report Questionnaire, which contains 100mm visual analogue scales, to assess difficulty taking MTX, adherence, frequency of negative reactions and helpfulness of MTX. They also completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) Generic and Rheumatology scales. We collected data on age, gender, JIA course, disease duration, MTX duration of use, route and dose. Number of inflamed and limited joints were indicators of disease severity.

Results: 116 CYP participated. Most considered MTX helpful (median 87; interquartile range (IQR) 50.75–98) and reported adherence was high (median 98; IQR 90–100). There was greater variability on scores for difficulty (median 22; IQR 2–69) and frequency of negative reactions (median 14.5; IQR 1.25–80). Mean (S.D.) scores on the PedsQL Physical and Psychosocial subscales were 71.63 (24.02) and 71.78 (19.59) respectively, indicating poorer HRQoL than that reported by healthy children. After controlling for demographic and disease variables, poorer physical HRQoL was significantly accounted for by greater difficulty in taking MTX. Poorer psychosocial HRQoL was significantly accounted for by subcutaneous MTX administration, a lower rating of MTX helpfulness and a greater reported difficulty in taking MTX.

Conclusions: Taking MTX for JIA was viewed as helpful by most CYP but HRQoL was poorer in those who reported greater difficulty in taking MTX.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, methotrexate, quality of life
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Child reports_PedRheum_author final version .pdf]
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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