Fourteen consecutive patients with chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease and reactive renal amyloidosis were treated with alkylating cytostatics in 22 separate periods varying in duration between six and 30 months. Chlorambucil alone was given in 14 treatment periods, cyclophosphamide alone in six, and both alternately in two. The dosage was adjusted to attain a major suppression of the rheumatic inflammation and a blood lymphocyte level below 1.0 X 10(9)/l. Renal function improved in 12 treatment periods, renal deterioration was arrested in three periods, and in another four periods the rate of functional decline slowed down. In the remaining three treatment periods, associated with further deterioration in renal function, treatment was inadequate owing to blood dyscrasia and failure to control hypertension. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was followed more closely in 10 treatment periods, in all of which the falling trend was arrested or reduced. The survival rate at five years was 93%. Three patients who dropped out of the treatment programme are so far the only ones not still alive. Nine are still being followed up after 6-17 years, and the other two remaining live patients have had renal transplants for five years.
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