Background: Pemphigus is a potentially life-threatening autoimmune blistering skin disease usually treated with high-dose corticosteroids in combination with immunosuppressive drugs. In a multicenter, prospectively randomized study we compared efficacy and side effects of a dexamethasone- cyclophosphamide (D/C) pulse therapy with a methylprednisolone-azathioprine (M/A) therapy in 22 patients with newly diagnosed pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus. Patients and methods: The 11 patients of the M/A group were treated with daily doses of methylprednisolone (initially 2 mg/kg body weight) and azathioprine (2-2,5 mg/kg body weight) which were subsequently tapered. D/C pulse therapy in 11 patients consisted of intravenous administration of 100mg dexamethasone/d on 3 consecutive days along with cyclophosphamide (500 mg) on day one. Pulses were initially repeated every 2-4 weeks and then at increasing intervals. In between the pulses, oral cyclophosphamide (50 mg) was given daily for 6 months. Results: Within 24 months after treatment initiation, 5/11 patients of the D/C group had a remission (complete remissions after discontinuation of therapy in 3 patients) and 6/11 patients had a progression. In the M/A group, there were remissions in 9/11 patients (complete remissions after discontinuation of therapy in 3 patients) and progression in 1/11 patients. There were more relapses in M/A therapy after remission than in D/C therapy. Side effects were more common in the M/A group. These differences were not significant (p>0,05). Conclusion: Because of the high number of progressions in patients treated with D/C therapy, we can not confirm the encouraging results of earlier reports about pulse D/C therapy. Nevertheless D/C therapy seemed to be better tolerated and, in case of primary efficacy, was associated with fewer recurrences than M/A therapy.
|Zeitschrift||JDDG - Journal of the German Society of Dermatology|
|Seiten (von - bis)||200-206|
|Publikationsstatus||Veröffentlicht - 03.2005|