Methotrexate is given weekly as an intramuscular injection of 15 to 25 mg. Side effects are rare and include leukopenia and hypersensitivity interstitial pneumonitis. Hepatic fibrosis is the most severe potential sequela of long-term therapy. Patients with concomitant alcohol abuse and/or morbid obesity are more likely to develop hepatic fibrosis and therefore should not be treated with methotrexate. It is prudent to obtain a baseline chest radiograph and to monitor complete blood count, liver function and renal function every two weeks until the patient is receiving oral therapy, and every one to three months thereafter. Before methotrexate therapy is initiated, the risks of treatment and the possible need for a liver biopsy should be discussed with the patient.
Corticosteroids, including EMFLAZA, readily cross the placenta. Adverse developmental outcomes, including orofacial clefts (cleft lip, with or without cleft palate ) and intrauterine growth restriction , and decreased birth weight, have been reported with maternal use of corticosteroids, including EMFLAZA, during pregnancy. Some epidemiologic studies report an increased risk of orofacial clefts from about 1 per 1000 infants to 3 to 5 per 1000 infants; however, a risk for orofacial clefts has not been observed in all studies. Intrauterine growth restriction and decreased birth weight appear to be dose-related; however, the underlying maternal condition may also contribute to these risks (see Data ). The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated populations is unknown. In the . general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively.
Table 1 summarizes baseline characteristics of the oral corticosteroid and control groups. As expected, the age and gender distributions of these two groups were similar: their mean age was around 57 years and % were female. Oral corticosteroid users were more likely to have a history of rheumatoid arthritis (% of oral corticosteroid users vs. % of the control patients). The most frequently recorded indication was respiratory disease: around 40% of the patients had respiratory diseases recorded and 13% had associated respiratory symptoms. Skin and musculoskeletal disorders were recorded in about 6% of the oral corticosteroid users. A history of nonvertebral fractures in the year before follow-up was present in % of the oral corticosteroid group and % of the controls.