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J Rheumatol. 1998 Jan;25(1):30-5.

Flare during drug withdrawal as a method to support efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis: amiprilose hydrochloride as an example in a double blind, randomized study.

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Halifax Clinical Research Center, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.



To evaluate the use of a randomized, double blind, drug withdrawal design as a means to test the efficacy of longterm therapy with antirheumatic drugs.


We evaluated 286 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with amiprilose hydrochloride for 1-3 years, with response, with or without other antirheumatic therapy, in a double blind, 12 week withdrawal study that compared patients randomized to continue amiprilose therapy vs patients randomized to placebo. The primary efficacy variable was preventing a predefined degree of clinical reactivation, or flare; the statistical tests of success were a difference in the proportion of flares and in the mean time to flare.


Thirty percent of patients taking amiprilose and 43% of placebo patients experienced flare (p = 0.026). Patients taking amiprilose had a longer flare-free interval compared to placebo patients (p = 0.027), with the time to reactivation or flare becoming statistically different 73 days after withdrawal.


Placebo controlled withdrawal designs are useful as evidence to support the longterm effectiveness of therapy in a proportion of patients with RA.

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