Weekly leflunomide effective for early rheumatoid arthritis
(HealthDay)—A higher, weekly dose of leflunomide shows similar benefits to a daily dose for the treatment of mild-to-moderate early rheumatoid arthritis (ERA), according to a study published online Aug. 13 in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.
Li-Min Ren, M.D., from the Peking University People's Hospital in China, and colleagues randomly assigned patients with ERA (mild or moderate disease activity) to either the treatment group (leflunomide 50 mg/week [LEF50]) or the control group (leflunomide 10 mg/day [LEF10]) for 24 weeks.
The researchers found that at week 24, the disease activity scores in 28 joints (DAS28) for both groups were significantly decreased compared with the baseline scores (P < 0.01). And, there were no significant differences in DAS28 between the two groups at week 24 (P > 0.05). Similarly, there were no significant differences in the European League Against Rheumatism response rates between the two groups at weeks eight, 12, and 24 (P > 0.05). No serious adverse events were seen during the study.
"A weekly dose of 50 mg leflunomide showed similar benefits to a daily dose of 10 mg leflunomide for the treatment of mild-to-moderate early rheumatoid arthritis," the authors write.
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