To evaluate glucocorticoids as an alternative to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs in patients with crystal-induced arthritis, a study was conducted in 27 patients with acute attacks of gout or chondrocalcinosis. Patients with contraindications to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug therapy were given either a single intramuscular injection of 7 mg betamethasone (group B, n = 10) or, if they were receiving anticoagulant therapy, a single intravenous injection of 125 mg methylprednisolone (group C, n = 7). The remaining patients (group A, n = 10) were given diclofenac in a dosage of 150 mg per day for three days then 75 mg per day for three days. Efficacy was evaluated based on the self-evaluated subjective improvement (%) and on the severity of joint swelling on days 1, 3, and 6. Both parameters improved promptly in all three groups. C-reactive protein decreased between baseline and day 6. Few patients had relapses. Glucocorticoid therapy was well tolerated. Our data show that a single intramuscular or intravenous injection of a glucocorticoid is safe and effective in patients with crystal-induced arthritis and risk factors for intolerance to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs.