OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of the fermented wheat germ extract (Avemar)in patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: Fifteen female RA (Steinbrocker II-III) patients, who had unsuccessfully tried two different DMARD treatments, were enrolled in an open-label, 1-year long, pilot clinical study. DMARD and steroid therapies were recorded and continued. All patients received Avemar as additional therapy. For measurement of efficacy the Ritchie Index, the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and the assessment of morning stiffness were applied.