Research Article

Sulphasalazine in rheumatoid arthritis.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 16 February 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:442
  1. B McConkey,
  2. R S Amos,
  3. S Durham,
  4. P J Forster,
  5. S Hubball,
  6. L Walsh


    Seventy-four patients with rheumatoid arthritis were treated with sulphasalazine. There was a significant improvement in clinical score, with substantial falls in serum C-reactive protein concentrations and erythrocyte sedimentation rate four weeks after starting the drug. Improvement was maintained in the 38 patients who remained on the durg for one year. The mean Rose-Waaler titre did not change. There was little difference between the results in seropositive and seronegative patients. The commonest adverse effect was dyspepsia, but five patients developed a megaloblastic anaemia and one patient neutropenia; all made a complete recovery. The results suggest that the drug has a disease-modifying action not attributable to its "salicylate" content. The mode of action might be by an antibacterial effect on gut flora.