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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-7

Clinical efficacy and adverse effects of weekly single dose leflunomide in refractory rheumatoid arthritis


Department of Medicine, Medical College, Calicut, India

Correspondence Address:
B J Paul
Department of Medicine, Medical College, Calicut
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Aim: To study the clinical efficacy and adverse events of weekly single dose of leflunomide in patients with refractory rheumatoid arthritis in comparison with conventional daily regimen. Methods: Patients with refractory rheumatoid arthritis were taken up for the study; 91 patients were enlisted of whom 3 became non-compliant and were excluded. A concurrent parallel study was designed with the patients divided into two groups and efficacy and adverse events recorded at third and sixth months. Results: A total of 88 patients were included in the study and were divided into two groups. At the end of 6 months, in the daily group 37 (82.2%) out of 45 patients had disease activity score (DAS) less than 3.2 indicating a low disease activity and 8 patients (17.8%) had moderate disease activity. None had high disease activity. In the weekly group, 36 (83.7%) out of 43 patients had low disease activity and 7 (16.3%) had moderate disease. None had high disease activity. Four (8.9%) patients developed adverse reactions in the daily group. One patient (2.2%) had alopecia and the other (2.2%) had diarrhoea and were withdrawn from the study. Two (4.4%) patients had elevated liver enzymes and the drug was stopped at 6 months. None in the weekly group reported any adverse events. Conclusions: Weekly regimen was found to be better in terms of compliance and had a lower adverse effect profile. The result was statistically significant. Clinical efficacy of weekly therapy was found to be similar to that of conventional therapy in terms of DAS.


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