In a study conducted at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, researchers have found that the medication minocycline is an effective disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD), and was an effective treatment for patients with early seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is according to a study published in the current issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (2001 vol. 44:10:2235-2241).
A double-blind randomized study was designed to compare the efficacy of minocycline with an established DMARD, hydroxychloroquine. Sixty patients who have been diagnosed with seropositive RA for less than a year, and who had not been previously treated with DMARDs were chosen to receive 100mg of minocycline or 200mg of hydroxycholroquine twice a day, for two years. In addition all patients received low-dose prednisone.
The researchers found that 60% of patients treated with minocycline were more likely to achieve a 50% improvement in symptoms at the end of two years, where only 33% of the hydroxycholorquine group showed the possibility of such an improvement. Each group was evaluated according to the American College of Rheumatology core criteria set (ACR50).
The study also showed that patients who were administered minocycline required less prednisone at the end of two years, and more were more likely to have been completely free of the drug after two years than those in the hydroxycholoquine group.