The effect of methotrexate and sulfasalazine on the course of HLA-B27-positive anterior uveitis: results from a retrospective cohort study.

Zu Hoerste, Melissa Meyer; Walscheid, Karoline; Tappeiner, Christoph; Zurek-Imhoff, Beatrix; Heinz, Carsten; Heiligenhaus, Arnd (2018). The effect of methotrexate and sulfasalazine on the course of HLA-B27-positive anterior uveitis: results from a retrospective cohort study. Graefe's archive for clinical and experimental ophthalmology, 256(10), pp. 1985-1992. Springer 10.1007/s00417-018-4082-x

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To investigate the effect of methotrexate (MTX) or sulfasalazine (SSZ) on the course of HLA-B27-positive, remitting acute anterior uveitis (AAU).


Forty-six patients with HLA-B27-positive AAU with or without associated systemic rheumatic disease either receiving MTX (n = 20), SSZ (n = 13), or no systemic immunomodulating treatment (Ctrl; n = 13) were studied retrospectively. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), AAU relapse rate, and occurrence of uveitis-related ocular complications were analyzed at baseline (BL) and at 12-month follow-up (FU).


Groups did not differ regarding age, gender, and presence of associated systemic diseases. BCVA at baseline was significantly worse in patients receiving MTX (logMAR 0.39 ± 0.4) than in those treated with SSZ (0.17 ± 0.2; P = 0.05) or in controls (Ctrl; 0.14 ± 0.2; P = 0.009). At the 12-month endpoint, MTX treatment was associated with significantly improved BCVA (0.18 ± 0.4 logMAR; P = 0.004). In contrast, BCVA did not significantly change in patients treated with SSZ (0.17 ± 0.3 logMAR) or in the controls (0.11 ± 0.2 logMAR). The annual uveitis relapse rate significantly decreased with MTX (BL 3.6 ± 2.4 relapses to FU 0.7 ± 0.8; P = 0.0001) and SSZ (BL 3.6 ± 1.9 to FU 1.8 ± 2.4, P < 0.01), but not in the controls (BL 1.9 ± 1.4 vs 1.9 ± 1.7 FU). The complication rate was slightly reduced with MTX (BL 1.75 ± 1.2 complications present versus FU 1.3 ± 1.2, P = 0.09) but not with SSZ (BL 0.9 ± 0.8 to FU 1.3 ± 1.4; P = 0.4) or in the controls (BL and FU 1.0 ± 0.95; P = 0.7).


MTX and SSZ reduced the uveitis relapse rate in HLA-B27-positive AAU patients, with MTX showing a beneficial effect on AAU-related macular edema.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ophthalmology

UniBE Contributor:

Tappeiner, Christoph


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Christoph Tappeiner

Date Deposited:

01 Feb 2019 10:49

Last Modified:

23 Nov 2019 09:10

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Acute anterior uveitis (AAU) Human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27) Methotrexate Outcome Sulfasalazine




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