The effect of a variety of antiinflammatory and antirheumatic agents on both developing and established lesions of type II collagen induced polyarthritis in rats was examined. Administration of the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents indomethacin or phenylbutazone suppressed the paw inflammation associated with the disease without affecting type II collagen antibody titers. Radiographic analysis of the joints showed suppression of several parameters related to joint destruction. This was most probably related to the antiinflammatory properties of the two drugs. Administration of prednisolone, a steroidal antiinflammatory agent, suppressed paw inflammation; type II collagen antibody titers were significantly decreased in the developing lesion, but the drug had no effect on antibody titers in the established lesion. Radiographic analysis of the joints showed decreases in several parameters of joint destruction. Cyclophosphamide, an immunosuppressive agent, completely suppressed the inflammation associated with the developing lesion but had only minimal effect against the established disease. Collagen antibody titers were decreased and an improvement in only one radiologic parameter (periostitis) was detected. Treatment with antirheumatic agents such as gold thioglucose or levamisole enhanced severity of inflammation in the established lesion and caused increases in collagen antibody titers. Radiographic analysis of the joints indicated that while gold had no effect, levamisole enhanced joint destruction. Treatment with D-penicillamine had no effect on paw inflammation, despite increases in collagen antibody titers. Radiographic analysis of the joints indicated an improvement in all parameters related to joint destruction in animals treated with penicillamine.