The aim of the present study was to measure the changes in serum selenium, zinc, and copper in patients being treated for rheumatoid arthritis. Thirty-two patients and 52 healthy controls were included in the study. The copper level was higher and those of selenium and zinc were lower in the patients relative to controls. Treatment with methotrexate elevated the zinc levels, but not zinc and selenium. Treatments with salazopyrin, corticosteroids, chloroquine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs did not change the levels of any of the elements studied. The decrease in zinc and selenium levels and elevation in copper levels observed in the patients probably resulted from the defense response of organism and are mediated by inflammatory-like substances.