A double-blind, parallel group study was carried out in 61 patients suffering from acute gouty arthritis to compare the effectiveness of etodolac and naproxen in the relief of symptoms. Patients were allocated at random to receive either 300 mg etodolac twice daily (31 patients) or 500 mg naproxen twice daily (30 patients) for 7 days. Both groups were comparable for sex, age and weight of patients, but there was a tendency for patients in the etodolac group to have more severe gout as shown by baseline clinical assessment scores. The variables assessed on entry and on Days 2, 4 and 7 of treatment were pain intensity, swelling, tenderness, erythema, joint heat, range of motion, and physician's and patients' overall evaluation of the condition. The results showed that there was a significant improvement from baseline in all of the variables at each time point in both treatment groups. However, more etodolac-treated patients (81%) than naproxen-treated patients (53%) showed overall improvement at Day 2, and etodolac was significantly better than naproxen on the Day 2 evaluation of joint swelling and at the Day 4 evaluations of joint tenderness, range of motion and the physician's global assessment. At the final evaluation on Day 7, 97% of the etodolac group reported that their condition had improved as compared to 93% of the naproxen group. Both drugs were well tolerated and only a few mild side-effects were reported.