Presence of basic calcium phosphate in knee joints of osteoarthritis patients could be prevented by inhibiting tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) activity. Levamisole or the L stereoisomer of tetramisole (a known TNAP inhibitor) has been used as a treatment for curing rheumatoid arthritis but its therapeutical use is limited due to side effects. We report the synthesis and the TNAP inhibition property of benzo[b]thiophene derivatives, among which benzothiopheno-tetramisole and benzothiopheno-2,3-dehydrotetramisole, which could be involved in a drug therapy for osteoarthritis. Two water soluble racemic benzothiopheno-tetramisole and -2,3-dehydrotetramisole with apparent inhibition constants K(i)=85+/-6 microM and 135+/-3 microM (n=3) comparable to that of enantiomeric levamisole 93+/-4 microM were found. Several novel derivatives showed more pronounced inhibition properties towards intestinal alkaline phosphatase than TNAP.