Background Corticosteroids are widely prescribed as potent anti-inflammatory drugs, but in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) severe adverse effects often limit their benefits.
Objectives We estimated side effects of depot corticosteroid – diprophos® in the long term treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods During six years we followed up 185 patients from the first onset of RA. Among them, 47 have been treated with combined therapy with methotrexate and chlorochine, 36 with methotrexate and sulfasalazine, while 38, 41 and 23 were on monotherapy with methotrexate, chlorochine and sulfasalazine, respectively. In all these patients, depot corticosteroid DIPROPHOS® (betametazone – combined sodium dipropionate/phosphate salt) have been administrated in 3‑5 weeks periodic intervals as one i.m. injection during minimum 6 months.
Results In most of patients (168/185 i.e. 91%) permanent clinical and biohumoral remission with slow radiographic disease progression was obtained. At the same time, we failed to notice any metabolic and gastrointestinal side effects due to corticosteroid use. Also in long-time follow up, there was no evidence of clinically important hormonal and psychiatric impairments as well as frequent infections. Only skin and ocular adverse effects were noticed.
Conclusion Depot corticosteroids could be considered as integral effective and safe part of RA treatment.
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