Treatment of early rheumatoid arthritis with minocycline or placebo: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Arthritis Rheum. 1997 May;40(5):842-8. doi: 10.1002/art.1780400510.


Objective: To determine if minocycline is an effective therapy for seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) when used within the first year of disease.

Methods: The Rheumatoid Arthritis Investigational Network enrolled 46 patients with RA of <1 year duration into a 6-month study of minocycline (100 mg twice daily) versus placebo. All patients were rheumatoid factor positive. The primary end point of the study was successful completion of 6 months of treatment with no drug toxicity while maintaining 50% improvement in composite symptoms of arthritis.

Results: Eighteen of the 46 patients who were enrolled met 50% improvement criteria at 3 months, and maintained at least a 50% improvement for 6 months with no significant drug toxicity. Among them were 15 of the 23 patients (65%) treated with minocycline and 3 of 23 patients (13%) treated with placebo (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: In patients with early seropositive RA, therapy with minocycline is superior to placebo.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minocycline / therapeutic use*
  • Placebos / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors


  • Placebos
  • Minocycline