Azathioprine in Rheumatoid Arthritis A Double-Blind, Cross-Over Study

Authors

  • Murray B. Urowitz MD FRCP(C),

    Assistant Professor of Medicine, Corresponding author
    1. University of Toronto Rheumatic Disease Unit, The Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
    • Reprint requests should be addressed to: Dr. Murray B. Urowitz, University of Toronto Rheumatic Disease Unit, The Wellesley Hospital, 160 Wellesley Street East, Toronto 5, Ontario, Canada
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  • Duncan A. Gordon MD FRCP(C),

    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    1. University of Toronto Rheumatic Disease Unit, The Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
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  • Hugh A. Smythe MD FRCP(C),

    Associate Professor of Medicine
    1. University of Toronto Rheumatic Disease Unit, The Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
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  • Waldemar Pruzanski MD FRCP(C),

    Associate Professor of Medicine
    1. University of Toronto Rheumatic Disease Unit, The Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
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  • Metro A. Ogryzlo MD FRCP(C)

    Professor of Medicine
    1. University of Toronto Rheumatic Disease Unit, The Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
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Abstract

Seventeen patients with classic rheumatoid arthritis resistant to conventional therapy were treated in a double-blind, cross-over study with azathioprine (2.0 to 2.5 mg/kg/day) and placebo for two 16-week periods. Patients receiving azathioprine showed significant improvement in articular index, joint count, grip strength and effusions, manifest by 6 weeks but greater at 16 weeks. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and latex titer did not change. White blood cell counts decreased on azathioprine, but normal counts did not preclude a response. Rash, nausea and hair thinning occurred in only 4 patients.

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