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Triple III Comparison of Leflunomide Alone Versus Two DMARD Combinations in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Information source: University of Nebraska
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Intervention: Leflunomide (Drug); Methotrexate-Sulfasalazine-Hydroxychloroquine (Drug); Leflunomide-Sulfasalazine-Hydroxychloroquine (Drug); Leflunomide (Drug)

Phase: Phase 3

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: University of Nebraska

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
James R O'Dell, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University of Nebraska


The study has been designed as a 48-week, double-blind, randomized, controlled study comparing the use of leflunomide alone to combinations of leflunomide-sulfasalazine-HCQ, and methotrexate-sulfasalazine-HCQ.

Clinical Details

Official title: Triple III Comparison of Leflunomide Alone Versus Two DMARD Combinations (Leflunomide-Hydroxychloroquine-Sulfasalazine or Methotrexate-Hydroxychloroquine-Sulfasalazine) in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Measuring the safety and efficacy of a new DMARD, Leflunomide,alone or in combination with traditional DMARD's.

Detailed description: Objectives: The combination of methotrexate-sulfasalazine-hydroxychloroquine has been shown to be more effective than methotrexate alone or the double combination of methotrexate-sulfasalazine or methotrexate-hydroxychloroquine. The objective of this study is to look at the safety and efficacy of a new DMARD, leflunomide, alone or in combination with traditional DMARDs (sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine). Research Design: This protocol has been designed as a 48 week, double blind, randomized, prospective and controlled. A total of 180 subjects will be enrolled, and randomly assigned to one of three study arms (60 subjects in each arm): 1) leflunomide alone; 2) leflunomide-sulfasalazine-hydroxychloroquine; 3) methotrexate-sulfasalazine-hydroxychloroquine. All subjects will receive an identical number of medications in a combination of active drug and placebo. Patients are further stratified into two groups: methotrexate-naïve (no history of methotrexate); and methotrexate-failure (failed to achieve clinical response at top dose of 20 mg/week for at least 8 weeks). Methotrexate-naïve patients will start the study at 10 mg/week methotrexate with possible increases at next evaluations dependent on remission criteria. Methotrexate-failure patients will start the study at the top study dose of 20 mg/week and remain at that dose for the entire study. Methodology: All patients will be recruited from outpatient academic, private practice, and VA rheumatology clinics. Subjects will be between the ages of 19 and 80 years. No pediatric subjects will be enrolled. No enrollment restrictions are based on race, ethnic origin or gender. Inclusion criteria includes: formal diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis per ACR criteria; disease duration of >6 months; at least 6 swollen and 6 tender joints on examination; and negative urine pregnancy test for premenopausal females. Specific exclusion criteria includes: previous treatment with leflunomide or combination DMARDs; abnormal lab values; history of allergy to sulfa, aspirin or tartrazine; any significant comorbid diseases; and unwillingness to avoid alcohol. Study subjects will return for evaluations every 8 weeks. All patients will be monitored for efficacy and signs of drug toxicity throughout the study by laboratory examination (CBC with platelets, AST or ALT, albumin, creatinine, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate), hand x-rays, retinal examination, and chest x-rays (if indicated). Every six months subjects will be asked to complete the ClinHAQ and SF36 questionnaires, designed to evaluate the effect of RA on daily live (ADLs). Subjects will be withdrawn from the study: due to pregnancy; serious adverse event not alleviated by symptomatic treatment; recurrent toxicity that reappears after treatment or drug suspension; lack of efficacy (20% improvement by week 32); non-compliance with the protocol; or withdrawal of consent. The primary study outcome measures were planned before data collection began. Clinical Relationship: Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease affecting a large proportion of the population. It produces significant morbidity and may result in premature mortality. The majority of patients with RA remain on disease-modifying agents for less than two years because of toxicity or lack of efficacy. Because of the failure of standard therapies to consistently halt and slow the progression of disease and the incidence of side effects, new approaches are clearly needed.


Minimum age: 19 Years. Maximum age: 80 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Age greater or 19 years and less than or 80 years old

- Duration of disease greater or equal to 6 months

- Diagnosis of RA with criteria

- Negative urine pregnancy test

- Be capable of understanding and giving written, voluntary informed consent

- Must present with at least six swollen and six tender joints at the screening

evaluation Exclusion Criteria:

- Patients treated previously with leflunomide

- Patients that have been treated with methotrexate in combination with any of the

study drugs

- Patients with a history of allergy to, or any history of significant clinical or

laboratory adverse experience associated with any of the study drugs

- Doses of oral steroids that are either unstable or greater than 10mg/day

- Stage IV disease or other significant disease including chest x-rays that show

evidence of rheumatoid lung disease. Stage IV disease is defined as x-ray evidence of cartilage/bone destruction with fibrous or bony ankylosis; creatinine greater than 2. 0mg/dL, AST or ALT greater normal

- Any significant liver, renal , hematologic, pulmonary, cardiovascular disease

(including uncontrolled hypertension), any active peptic ulcer disease, or visual problems including a recent decrease in acuity, retinal disease, or macular degeneration

- Patients who are not willing to abstain from alcohol consumption

- Women of childbearing potential who are not practicing a successful method of

contraception, or wish to become pregnant

- Patients that are unable to understand the study procedures and/or give written

informed consent.

Locations and Contacts

University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 69198-3025, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: December 1999
Last updated: January 2, 2014

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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