Ten patients with rheumatoid arthritis unresponsive to conventional therapy participated in a double-blind crossover trial in which they randomly received either a 'pulse' of 1 g of methylprednisolone or placebo, intravenously, once a month for 6 months. Both the drug-first and placebo-first groups had the same mean American Rheumatism Association functional classification, 2.5. During the study patients on methylprednisolone 'pulses', compared to placebo, showed significantly better mean tender-joint counts, walking times, and grip strength (p<0.05). The drug-treated patients also had significantly lower levels of immune complexes (p<0.01) and IgG (p<0.01). Effects could still be measured an average of 2.9±0.4 months after the last dose of methylprednisolone. No significant side effects were noted during the therapy. Despite these findings, 'pulse' methylprednisolone did not appear to significantly retard radiologic progression of the arthritis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine