Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant. Antioxidants limit the damage caused by free radicals in the body and may well be useful in a preventative role. One double blind study compared the effect of high dose vitamin E against the drug Diclofenac sodium in hospitalized RA patients. After three weeks of treatment, both vitamin E and Diclofenac sodium reduced joint stiffness, improved grip strength, and relieved pain. Improvements were similar with both, in fact, the physicians conducting the study and the patients felt that vitamin E and the drug were equally effective. Since there is a risk of side effects in the long-term treatment of chronic rheumatoid arthritis with anti-inflammatory drugs, the authors suggest that high-dose vitamin E is a possible alternative.