A single-blind, crossover trial was carried out in 24 patients with definite or classical rheumatoid arthritis to compare the effectiveness and tolerability of piroxicam (20 mg once daily) with that of indoniethacin (25 mg 3-times daily), ibuprofen (400 mg 3-times daily) and placebo. Each drug was given in random order for a period of 1 week. Pain, joint tenderness and morning stiffness decreased and grip strength increased with piroxicam compared to placebo; no statistically significant difference could be found between piroxicam and the two other active agents. A reduction in joint circumference could not be demonstrated with piroxicam or ibuprofen but most patients did not have reducible swelling in their finger joints. Piroxicam was just as effective as the other two drugs overall, but fewer side-effects were noted with piroxicam.
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