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April 15, 1950


Author Affiliations

Worcester, Mass.

From the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, Shrewsbury, Mass., and the Arthritis Clinic of Memorial Hospital, Worcester, Mass.

JAMA. 1950;142(15):1124-1128. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910330006003

The therapeutic efficacy of cortisone and pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)1 in rheumatoid arthritis has suggested the possible application of other steroid hormones in this disease. To this end we have selected Δ5-pregnenolone because of (a) its possible role as a precursor of more active steroid hormones2; (b) its effect on decreasing fatigue3; (c) its sparing action on the adrenal cortex3 and (d) its lack of toxicity in both animals4 and man.5 Davidson and Koetz6 have already commented favorably on its possible value in ankylosing spondylarthritis. In addition, its efficacy by mouth7 has decided advantages to the patient over the parenteral administration necessary with pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone or cortisone.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS  The patients selected for the study presented definite evidence of rheumatoid arthritis according to the standards of the New York Rheumatism Association as presented in the article by Steinbrocker,