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Logo of annrheumdAnnals of the Rheumatic DiseasesCurrent TOCInstructions for authors
Ann Rheum Dis. Jun 2004; 63(6): 737–739.
PMCID: PMC1755041

Long term evaluation of radiographic disease progression in a subset of patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with leflunomide beyond 2 years

Abstract

Methods: Patients treated with leflunomide for >2 years in one of three phase III trials and subsequent extensions, for whom paired, evaluable radiographs at baseline and study end point were available, were included. Radiographs of hands and feet were assessed according to the modified Sharp/van der Heijde scoring method, for erosion, joint space narrowing, and total score. Changes from baseline were assessed, and a predicted yearly progression rate estimated for each patient.

Results: 128 of the original 824 patients were included, with mean disease duration 5.1 years and mean leflunomide treatment duration 4.3 years until the final x ray examination. The mean change from baseline in total score was 8.6 with yearly adjusted rate 1.9, and the median change was 2 with yearly adjusted rate 0.5, compared with 7.9 and 4.9, respectively, before leflunomide treatment. After treatment, the rate improved in 92/128 (72%) patients and deteriorated in 21/128 (16%). In 42 (33%) patients who had a total score >0 at baseline, no radiographic progression occurred after leflunomide treatment.

Conclusions: In a subset of patients who continued treatment long term, leflunomide treatment reduced the rate of radiographic damage.

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Figures and Tables

Figure 1
Study design and patient numbers.
Figure 2
Rate of disease progression before and during leflunomide treatment compared with a historical control.4

Articles from Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group

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