Of 209 patients who fulfilled the A.R.A. criteria for the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus, 43 were selected for study because each had been treated for at least two years with antimalarials, but had not received antimalarials for at least one subsequent year. In each instance, the antimalarial was discontinued solely because of the development of retinopathy. Each year on antimalarials was matched with a subsequent year off antimalarials for each patient. The year immediately following diagnosis and years of pregnancy were excluded. Paired-t test analysis of matched years revealed that general symptoms (fever, fatigue, weight loss) were less common during years on 500 mg chloroquine daily than during years off the drug (p less than 0.05). Skin manifestations were also less frequent during the years on 500 mg chloroquine daily than during the years off (p less than 0.05). No significant steroid sparing effect was found. However, a greater incidence of flare-ups during the matched years off the drug was statistically significant.