Captopril: a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?

Lancet. 1984 Jun 16;1(8390):1325-8. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(84)91821-x.


Captopril, an inhibitor of angiotensin converting enzyme, is prescribed for hypertension. Its molecular structure shares features with D-penicillamine, in that both agents contain a thiol group. In addition, captopril has immunosuppressant activity. Captopril was therefore considered a potential slow-acting drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis. In an open study 15 patients with active arthritis were treated with captopril and followed for 48 weeks. Two-thirds of the patients reported improved arthritis symptoms, and significant changes were seen in several clinical and biochemical measurements, notably Ritchie articular index, clinical score, plasma viscosity, and C-reactive protein. Side-effects were generally mild and included transient taste loss, rashes, and hypotension. Only 2 patients withdrew as a result of drug intolerance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Captopril / adverse effects
  • Captopril / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / chemically induced
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillamine / therapeutic use
  • Proline / analogs & derivatives*


  • Proline
  • Captopril
  • Penicillamine