In this study, we enrolled early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients at multiple institutes who fulfilled the American Rheumatism Association 1987 revised criteria for the classification of RA, and followed the clinical results of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) treatment prospectively. With the aim of developing therapeutic guidelines using the disease activity score 28 (DAS28) as disease indices, we investigated the usefulness of bucillamine (BUC), one of the most widely used DMARDs in Japan. Eighty-one patients with early RA who had not previously been treated with DMARDs were suitable for BUC therapy as first-choice treatment. After 24 months of treatment, at least moderate improvement was seen in 87.5% of patients using the DAS28 erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). After 24 months of BUC therapy, 7 patients (43.8%) met the remission criterion of DAS28 (ESR) <2.6. The 24-month BUC continuation rate was 60.5% (49/81, monotherapy + combination therapy), of which 59.2% (29/49) were on BUC monotherapy. From the efficacy and safety viewpoints alike, BUC was useful as first-choice treatment for early RA.