Low dose cyclosporine in rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot study. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • A 6 month open trial of cyclosporine (CyA) was conducted in 20 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis unresponsive to second line therapy. The dosage was monitored to achieve a serum blood level of 75-150 ng/ml. A 25% reduction in ARA joint count (baseline mean 38.2; 6 month or time of CyA withdrawal mean 28.7; p less than 0.001) was observed for all patients. Fifteen completed the 6 month CyA regimen and 5 developed toxicity requiring CyA to be permanently withdrawn. For the 15 patients completing 6 months of CyA, improvement was 36% (baseline 34.7; 6 month mean 22.2; p less than 0.001). Corresponding improvements were also observed on the other main study outcomes of pain and functional ability. Improvement occurred between 12-20 weeks, somewhat later than in other studies. Toxicity included mild hypertension (4 patients) and gastrointestinal intolerance (2). Three patients were withdrawn from CyA due to nephrotoxicity. There was a clinically significant reduction in calculated creatinine clearance but this returned to baseline within 6 months after CyA was withdrawn for all except 2 patients who took 12 months to return to baseline.


  • Tugwell, P
  • Bombardier, C
  • Gent, M
  • Bennett, K
  • Ludwin, David
  • Grace, E
  • Buchanan, WW
  • Bensen, WG
  • Bellamy, N
  • Murphy, GF

publication date

  • December 1987