One of the most striking features of inflammatory arthritis is the hyperplasia of synovial fibroblasts. It is not known whether the massive synovial hyperplasia characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis is due to the proliferation of synovial fibroblasts or to defective apoptosis. It has been found that glutamate receptor antagonists inhibit proliferation of different human tumour cells and the anticancer potential of glutamate receptor antagonists was suggested. Here, we investigated the effect of glutamate receptor antagonists and selected antirheumatic drugs on proliferation of synoviocytes in vitro. Experiments were conducted on rabbit synoviocytes cell line HIG-82 obtained from American Type Culture Collection (Menassas, VA, USA). Cell proliferation was assessed by means of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The IC50 value (the concentration of drug necessary to induce 50% inhibition) together with confidence limits was calculated. Glutamate receptor antagonists, 1-(4-aminophenyl)-3,5-dihydro-7,8-dimethoxy-4H-2,3-benzodiazepin-4-one (CFM-2), riluzole, memantine, 1-4-aminophenyl-methyl-7,8-methylenedioxy-5H-2,3-benzodiazepine (GYKI 52466), dizocilpine, ketamine and 2,3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfamoylbenzo(f)quinoxaline (NBQX), inhibited proliferation of synoviocytes with the following IC50 values (in mM): 0.014, 0.017, 0.065, 0.102, 0.15, 0.435 and 1.16, respectively. Antirheumatic drugs, celecoxib, diclofenac, nimesulide, sulfasalazine, naproxen and methotrexate, inhibited proliferation of synoviocytes with the following IC50 values (in mM): 0.0043, 0.034, 0.044, 0.096, 0.385 and 1.123, respectively. Thus, the antiproliferative potential of glutamate receptor antagonists is comparable to that of antirheumatic drugs.