Long-term application of disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD). A single-center, observational study of 1681 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

M Keysser, G Keysser, C Keysser
Zeitschrift Für Rheumatologie 1999, 58 (5): 267-76

OBJECTIVE: To study the long-term efficacy and safety of methotrexate (MTX), intramuscular gold, azathioprine (AZA), chloroquine (CQ), sulphasalazine (SASP), and D-penicillamine (DPA) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

METHODS: Between 1979 and 1994, clinical data were prospectively gathered in a single center. 1681 patients were followed-up for at least 4 years. A 50% reduction of the swollen joint count was required to continue therapy. In addition, a modified Lansbury index, the Keitel function test, and laboratory parameters were determined every six months. Side effects leading to the discontinuation of treatment were recorded as well.

RESULTS: After an observation period of more than four years, 39.6% and 28.3% of patients were taking MTX and AZA, respectively; 18.2% were receiving gold, 16.9% remained on DPA. SASP and CQ were still applied in 13.5% and 6.6%. MTX, AZA and SASP had a drop-out rate due to toxicity of 15.9%, 15.3% and 17.7%, whereas 34.8% had to discontinue CQ (gold: 27.4%, DPA: 26.9%). The majority of dropouts occurred within the first year of treatment. Subgroups of seropositive patients and patients with rheumatoid nodules had a poorer treatment efficacy irrespective of the DMARD.

CONCLUSION: In the long-term application, MTX was the most efficient compound, followed by AZA, whereas CQ had the poorest drug survival. Our results underline the value of long-term observations under the conditions of clinical practice as a supplement to controlled clinical trials.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"