Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of chicken type II collagen (CCII) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with methotrexate (MTX).
Methods: We conducted a prospective, 24-week, followup, multicenter, double-blind, controlled study of CCII (0.1 mg/day) versus MTX (10 mg/week) in patients with active RA. Clinical assessments were performed at screening and at 12, 18, and 24 weeks of treatment.
Results: A total of 236 RA patients were included; 211 patients (89.4%) completed the 24-week followup. In both groups there was a decrease in pain, morning stiffness, tender joint count, swollen joint count, Health Assessment Questionnaire score, and investigator and patient assessment of function; all differences were statistically significant. In the MTX group, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein level decreased. Rheumatoid factor did not change in either group. At 24 weeks, 68.57% of patients in the CCII group and 83.02% in the MTX group met the American College of Rheumatology 20% improvement criteria (ACR20), and 40.95% and 57.54%, respectively, met the ACR50 criteria. The ACR20 and ACR50 response rates in the CCII group were lower than those in the MTX group, and this difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Gastrointestinal symptoms were common in both groups. There were fewer and milder side effects in the CCII group than the MTX group. The difference in incidence of adverse events between the 2 groups was statistically significant (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: CCII is effective in the treatment of RA. CCII is well tolerated, and the incidence of adverse events of CCII is lower than that of MTX.