Objective. To compare the clinical efficacy, effect on serum C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid A (SAA), and plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, and safety of tenidap with a combination of hydroxychloroquineplus-piroxicam, and piroxicam alone, in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
Methods. A double-blind, randomized, multicenter study in which patients with active RA were treated with tenidap 120 mg/day, hydroxychloroquine 400 mg/day and piroxicam 20 mg/day, or piroxicam alone 20 mg/day, for 24 weeks.
Results. At weeks 12 and 24, tenidap produced greater improvements than piroxicam based on 5 primary efficacy parameters; this improvement showed statistical significance in 4 of the 5 measures at week 12, and in 3 of the 5 measures at week 24. Clinical improvements in the hydroxychloroquine-plus-piroxicamtreated patients were similar to those seen in patients treated with tenidap. Compared with piroxicam, tenidap was associated with significantly greater reductions in serum CRP concentrations at 4, 12, and 24 weeks, and significantly greater reductions in SAA concentrations at weeks 12 and 24. The decrease in SAA concentrations was also significantly greater at weeks 4 and 24 in the tenidap-treated group than in the hydroxychloroquine-plus-piroxicam-treated group. Significant reductions in plasma IL-6 levels were observed at weeks 4, 12, and 24 within the tenidap group, and at week 24 within the hydroxychloroquine-plus-piroxicam-treated group. The overall occurrence of side effects, including gastrointestinal side effects, was similar in all 3 treatment groups. A small proportion of tenidap-treated patients (6.4%) manifested mild, nonprogressive, reversible proteinuria of presumed renal proximal tubular origin, and 3–4% of patients had elevated transaminase levels.
Conclusion. In the treatment of patients with RA, tenidap is as effective as the combination of hydroxy-chloroquine-plus-piroxicam, and is more effective than piroxicam alone; moreover, tenidap's safety profile is comparable to that observed with piroxicam alone, and with hydroxychloroquine-plus-piroxicam. The clinical response observed in this study, as well as the prompt decreases in acute-phase protein levels of CRP and SAA, and in plasma IL-6 levels, suggest that tenidap represents a new type of antiarthritic medication, with properties similar to, but not identical to, a therapeutic combination of a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.