Comparison of cyclosporine and D-penicillamine for rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized, double blind, multicenter study

J Rheumatol. 1991 Jun;18(6):815-20.


Ninety-two patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were entered in a randomized double blind study of 24 weeks comparing cyclosporine (initial daily dose 5 mg/kg) with D-penicillamine (initial daily dose 250 mg). The groups were well balanced in baseline characteristics. In the cyclosporine group, 10 patients stopped prematurely, one because of inefficacy. In the D-penicillamine group, 9 patients stopped prematurely, 3 because of inefficacy. The 2 antirheumatic drugs were equally effective in reducing disease activity, except for a significant (p = 0.005) decrease in erythrocyte sedimentation rate with D-penicillamine treatment. We conclude that under the conditions of this trial, cyclosporine can serve as an alternative to D-penicillamine for the treatment of patients with RA.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Cyclosporins / adverse effects
  • Cyclosporins / standards
  • Cyclosporins / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillamine / adverse effects
  • Penicillamine / standards
  • Penicillamine / therapeutic use*


  • Cyclosporins
  • Penicillamine