Background Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common inflammatory skin disease. Methotrexate (MTX) was suggested as an effective treatment option in cases of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. This study assessed the efficacy and safety of treatment with low weekly doses of methotrexate for moderate-to-severe AD in adults.
Methods Twenty adult patients with moderate-to-severe AD were included in this retrospective study. Those patients were unresponsive to topical treatments, antihistamines and at least one of the second-line treatments. MTX in low weekly doses of 10–25 mg was administered orally or intramuscularly with folic acid supplementation 5 mg per week for at least 8–12 weeks. The response to treatment was evaluated by change in SCORAD (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis), DLQI (Dermatology Quality of Life Index) and the global assessment of the clinical response score.
Results After 8–12 weeks of treatment, we observed an objective response in most patients. There were 16 responders and 4 non-responders. The mean SCORAD and DLQI decreased by 28.65 units (44.3%) and 10.15 units (43.5%), respectively. The first improvement was observed after a period ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months (mean 9.95 w ± 3.17). Treatment was more effective in adult onset AD than in childhood onset. Tolerance of treatment was good. However, nausea and an increase of liver enzymes were observed in 5 patients and 3 of them required a transient discontinuation of MTX. One patient developed peripheral neuropathy, which was resolved several weeks after the discontinuation of MTX.
Conclusion MTX seems to be an effective and safe second-line treatment for patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. A randomized, controlled study is warranted.