The probability of continuation of 1,077 courses of 2nd line drugs taken by 532 patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated in 7 rheumatology private practices was examined. This probability was that 50% of courses were continued over 10 months for oral gold, 20 months for hydroxychloroquine, 21 months for penicillamine, 25 months for parenteral gold, 27 months for azathioprine, and more than 60 months for methotrexate (MTX). MTX and prednisone were the only drugs continued by more than 50% of patients after 60 months, while about 20% of courses of other 2nd line drugs other than oral gold were estimated to be continued at 60 months. Estimated drug continuation did not differ significantly according to age, duration of disease, or whether the drug was the first, second, or 3rd 2nd line drug used. Some patients took each 2nd line drug for more than 5 years, suggesting a favorable experience, but most courses were not continued beyond 2 years.