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April 1990

Methotrexate-Induced Cirrhosis Requiring Liver Transplantation in Three Patients With Psoriasis: A Word of Caution in Light of the Expanding Use of This 'Steroid-Sparing' Agent

Author Affiliations

From the Baylor Psoriasis Center (Drs Gilbert, Menter, and Silverman), and the Department of Surgery, Baylor University Medical Center (Dr Klintmalm), Dallas, Tex.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(4):889-891. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390160129025

• Methotrexate has been used for many years to treat refractory psoriasis. Three cases of methotrexate-induced cirrhosis requiring orthotopic liver transplantation are presented to emphasize the importance of strict adherence to published criteria for patient selection, monitoring of cumulative drug dosages, and the performance of serial liver biopsies. Each patient had been treated with long-term methotrexate therapy (cumulative doses far in excess of 1.5 g) without undergoing serial liver biopsies, contrary to well-established treatment guidelines. Caution must be exercised in using methotrexate as a steroid-sparing agent in the treatment of inflammatory diseases because of its potential to cause severe hepatotoxic effects with long-term usage and cumulative doses above 1.5 g. Patients easily become psychologically dependent on the drug, and physicians need to guard against the false sense of security engendered by normal results on liver function studies.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:889-891)

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