We examined the preliminary safety and efficacy of intravenous samarium-153-EDTMP (Sm-153) in the treatment of refractory rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In an open-label sequential group comparison of 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mCi/kg, Sm-153 was administered as a single intravenous infusion to 24 patients with refractory disease. Across treatment doses, the frequency of American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20% responses was 25%, 29%, 25%, and 33% at 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks, respectively. Expected significant declines in absolute neutrophil count, hemoglobin, and platelet counts were observed with nadirs seen between 2-4 weeks. Sm-153, at doses of 0.5 and 1.0mCi/kg, is well tolerated but minimally effective in the treatment of refractory RA as measured using ACR response criteria.