OBJECTIVE--To investigate whether oestrogens can be used as treatment to diminish disease activity in women with rheumatoid arthritis. METHODS--Forty postmenopausal female patients with active rheumatoid arthritis participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study on the possible beneficial effect of adjuvant treatment of oestradiol on disease activity. RESULTS--Thirty three patients completed 52 weeks of treatment with 2 mg oestradiol-valerate or placebo. No statistically significant difference was found in and between both treatment groups with regard to articular indices, pain score by visual analogue scale, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and health questionnaire on daily activities before, during and at the end of the study. CONCLUSION--This first randomised prospective placebo-controlled study shows no beneficial effect of oestrogens on disease activity in postmenopausal female patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
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