Sulphasalazine in a dose of 50 mg/kg/day was administered to ten patients with pauciarticular-onset juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA), with active disease not adequately controlled by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). The treatment was initiated with 1/4 of this dose and increased by weekly increments of 250-500 mg until the total dose was reached. In all patients sulphasalazine was the first disease-modifying agent tried. Among nine of the ten patients there was significant improvement in all clinical scores, including the number of active joints and the severity grading (tenderness and limitation of motion). Within 3 months of sulphasalazine therapy the laboratory measurements revealed marked improvement in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and haemoglobin values. One patient, in whom the ESR and haemoglobin were normal at onset, had no change in clinical scores. Transient skin rash and elevated liver enzyme levels developed in one patient. These preliminary data suggest that sulphasalazine is an effective and safe second-line agent in the management of pauciarticular-onset JCA. More trials with this drug are needed, including double blind, to study efficacy and safety of sulphasalazine in JCA.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
- Pauciarticular-onset Juvenile Chronic Arthritis