Fifty-six patients with rheumatoid arthritis were treated continuously with cortisone for periods ranging between 4 and 38 months, in daily doses of 15 to 100 mg. Concomitant therapy included periods of rest, physical therapy, and salicylates.
The incidence of subjective improvement exceeded that of objective improvement.
The incidence of objective improvement was higher in females; also, in those patients whose disease was in an early stage and of short duration at the time therapy was begun, and who required relatively smaller maintenance doses of cortisone.
Therapeutic results were not affected by the age of the patient or by the presence of spondylitis.
Despite precautions, the long-term administration of cortisone was, in some patients, productive of serious undesirable side-effects.
Although cortisone usually suppressed the symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis, progression of the disease was frequently noted during its long-term administration.