Although disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the selection of agents in the case of relapse (escape phenomenon) lacks clear-cut standards. Therefore we investigated the rate and conditions of escape as well as the agents used after escapes had occurred. Outpatients of the Matsubara Mayflower Hospital with a history of DMARD administration during the 4 years prior to May 2003 were studied. Those receiving salazosulfapyridine (SASP) had a high escape rate and those receiving methotrexate (MTX) and bucillamine (BC) had a low rate. The continuous duration of administration was long for MTX and BC, but short for sodium aurothiomalate (GST). BC and Actarit (AR) gradually elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). In patients receiving SASP and MTX, a high level of CRP and high ESR was seen 2 months prior to the occurrence of escape and remained unchanged after escape. With respect to the agents used after escape, SASP and BC were substituted with other DMARDs. A combination with other DMARDs was usually administered to patients who had been receiving MTX. Taken together, the present results clarified the characteristics of DMARD escape and will contribute to the appropriate pharmacotherapy for RA.
2005 by the PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN