To study new target-oriented molecules that are active against rheumatoid arthritis-dependent pain, new dual inhibitors incorporating both a carbonic anhydrase (CA)-binding moiety and a cyclooxygenase inhibitor (NSAID) were tested in a rat model of rheumatoid arthritis induced by CFA intra-articular (i.a.) injection. A comparison between a repeated per os treatment and a single i.a. injection was performed. CFA (50 mu L) was injected in the tibiotarsal joint, and the effect of per os repeated treatment (1 mg kg(-1)) or single i.a injection (1 mg mL(-1), 50 mu L) with NSAIDs-CAIs hybrid molecules, named 4 and 5, was evaluated. The molecules 4 and 5, which were administered daily for 14 days, significantly prevented CFA-induced hypersensitivity to mechanical noxious (Paw pressure test) and non-noxious stimuli (von Frey test), the postural unbalance related to spontaneous pain (Incapacitance test) and motor alterations (Beam balance test). Moreover, to study a possible localized activity, 4 and 5 were formulated in liposomes (lipo 4 and lipo 5, both 1 mg mL(-1)) and directly administered by a single i.a. injection seven days after CFA injection. Lipo 5 decreased the mechanical hypersensitivity to noxious and non-noxious stimuli and improved motor coordination. Oral and i.a. treatments did not rescue the joint, as shown by the histological analysis. This new class of potent molecules, which is able to inhibit at the same time CA and cyclooxygenase, shows high activity in a preclinical condition of rheumatoid arthritis, strongly suggesting a novel attractive pharmacodynamic profile.