Gold compounds (chrysotherapy) are the oldest of the DMARDs in use to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Parentally administered gold is generally believed to be somewhat less effective than methotrexate; oral gold is less effective than parenteral preparations. Gold compounds take several months to produce a measurable effect. Among patients who can tolerate this therapy, some benefit will be obtained in about 80%, and complete remission will be induced in 20% of cases. Remissions are maintained for varying periods after discontinuing therapy, with a relapse rate as high as 80%. Relapse is usually less severe in such patients, and a second course of gold therapy usually produces beneficial effects.
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