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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 358-361

Evaluation of efficacy of combination of methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine with leflunomide in active rheumatoid arthritis

1 Department of Pharmacology, Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences, Mandya, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, M S Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore, India
3 Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, M S Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
N S Shashikumar
Department of Pharmacology, Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences, Mandya
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.71916

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Background: Several new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis are available including leflunomide. Comparative studies of treatment with leflunomide (against methotrexate) report a better quality of life. Aim: This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of combination of methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine with leflunomide, a new disease modifying antirheumatoid drug. Analysis was of intent to treat group. Materials and Methods: This was an open labeled, randomized, comparative clinical trial in the department of rheumatology and immunology, at a tertiary care center in Bangalore. Patients who have diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as per American College of Rheumatology aged between 18 and 60 years were recruited and randomized to receive leflunomide (10 mg/day p.o.) or a combination of methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine (7.5 mg/week p.o. and 200 mg/day p.o., respectively) along with folate supplementation for 12 weeks. The European League Against Rheumatism criteria of improvement according to disease activity score 28 was considered as the primary efficacy variable. Baseline and end of study values were evaluated. The duration of the study period was 1 year. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Wilcoxon Signed rank test were used for statistical analysis. Results: After 12 weeks, improvement noted in patients treated with leflunomide was similar to those treated with a combination of methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine. There was no statistical significance in improvement in disease activity between the two groups (P = 0.377). Conclusion: Combination of methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine is equivalent to leflunomide in terms of efficacy in reducing disease activity in the initial treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis.


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