Changes in inflammatory activity of rheumatoid arthritis at early stages of basic therapy with leflunomide


Aim. To assess leflunomide efficacy and tolerance in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during the first four months of the treatment.
Material and methods. The study included 200 RA patients treated in four Moscow clinical centers. Leflunomide was given in a dose of 100 mg/day for 3 days, then 20 mg/day for 16 weeks. The activity of the disease according to the criterion DAS 28 was assessed before the treatmend and 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks after the treatment start.
Results. RA activity diminished considerably after one month of leflunomide treatment. Later, the articular syndrome continued to improve. A significant improvement by DAS 28 was observed after 16 weeks of the treatment in 65% (129 of 200) patients, high RA activity persisted only in 17 of 90 patients.
Conclusion. Leflunomide reduces articular inflammation and raises RA patients' quality of life at early stages of the treatment. This reduction continued for 4 months of the study. Therefore, adequate assessment of leflunomide efficacy should be made only after 4-6 months of therapy.


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Copyright (c) 2004 Balabanova R.M., Makolkin V.I., Shostak N.A., Chichasova N.V., Olyunin Y.A., Goryachev D.V., Loginova Т.К., Ryabkova A.A., Petukhova N.V., Menshikova I.V., Igolkina E.V., Chizhova K.A., Nasonov E.L.

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