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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 57

of 'Initial treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in adults'

57
TI
Randomised placebo-controlled study of stopping second-line drugs in rheumatoid arthritis.
AU
ten Wolde S, Breedveld FC, Hermans J, Vandenbroucke JP, van de Laar MA, Markusse HM, Janssen M, van den Brink HR, Dijkmans BA
SO
Lancet. 1996;347(8998):347.
 
BACKGROUND: A favourable benefit/risk ratio for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with second-line drugs has been established only in short-term studies. The present investigation addresses the question of whether RA patients with a good response to long-term treatment with second-line drugs benefit from continuation of such treatment.
METHODS: A 52-week randomised double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre study was conducted to assess the effect of stopping second-line therapy in 285 RA patients with a good long-term therapeutic response. The patients either continued the second-line drug (n = 142) or received a placebo (n = 143). The endpoint was a flare, defined as recurrence of synovitis.
FINDINGS: At entry into the study median duration of second-line drug therapy was 5 years (range 2-33). At 52 weeks the cumulative incidence of a flare was 38% for the placebo group and 22% for the continued therapy group (p = 0.002). The risk of a flare was 2.0 times higher for patients receiving placebo than for those continuing the second-line drug (95% CI 1.27 to 3.17). The same trend was found for each second-line drug separately, with the exception of d-penicillamine. Side-effects that necessitated dose reduction or discontinuation occurred in 2 patients in each group.
INTERPRETATION: Second-line drugs continue to be effective in RA patients who have responded well to initial treatment.
AD
Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital Leiden, Netherlands.
PMID