A prospective study of 17 autoantibodies (AA) in 176 cases of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with D-penicillamine (DP) (Abstract)
176 patients (36 male/140 female; mean age, 54, range 20–87) suffering from classical or definite RA as defined by the ARA criteria were given a slowly increasing dosage of DP. The overall mean durationof DP was 22 months (6–36); the mean dose level was 16 mg/kg daily (10–25) and the mean RA duration was 92 months (11–431). 17 AA were determined before, during and after the treatment. Within 2 months of giving DP, the rheumatoid factors titre decreased, whereas antiperinuclear factor remained unchanged throughout the treatment. Between the 6th and the 12th month, various AA appeared in 12% of the patients (to ds-DNA, to skeletal muscle and to epidermal intercellular substance). Associated autoimmune disease was noted in 50% of the latter. The patients with a positive anti-nuclear factor seemed especially likely to develop a serious side effect.