Treat undifferentiated arthritis early: meta-analysis

Giving methotrexate to patients with early undifferentiated arthritis markedly reduces their chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) a year later, a systematic review and meta-analysis show.

Analysis of the pooled results of nine studies, covering 981 participants receiving a range of treatments for 12-30 months, showed those treated with any intervention halved their chance of having RA at one year.

When treatments were analysed individually, however, only methotrexate showed a statistically significant benefit at one year, with the risk of RA being reduced by 87%