Considering cyclophosphamide's severe side effects there is a need for a new, less toxic treatment protocol for Wegener's granulomatosis. Here we report the first results of a prospective study using cyclophosphamide pulse therapy (monthly application) (a) as an alternative treatment in seven cases of active generalized Wegener's granulomatosis, which either showed complications under continuous cyclophosphamide treatment or in which the partial remission was not steady, and (b) as the initial treatment in five newly diagnosed patients with active generalized disease. After complete remission had been achieved in all cases in group (a), but only two cases in group (b), we started treatment with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (cotrimoxazole) to maintain remission. Three of 8 patients suffered from severe relapses 9, 11 and 12 months after discontinuation of cyclophosphamide. The 3 patients in group (b) who could not be brought into remission had to be put on continuous cyclophosphamide. In addition, we treated 3 patients with newly diagnosed locoregional disease with cotrimoxazole alone. Two of these patients responded promptly and have only minor symptoms after 13 and 27 months, respectively. In one patient the disease continued to progress in the upper respiratory tract, and treatment was switched to cyclophosphamide and prednisolone after a period of 3 months. From these results we believe that cyclophosphamide pulse therapy is a successful alternative treatment protocol after partial remission has been achieved with a daily administration of cyclophosphamide or if complications, e.g-. leukopenia, arise with the continuous use of this drug. As an initial treatment, however, bolus treatment still appears to be an experimental protocol. Our experience with cotrimoxazole for maintaining remission has not left us particularly confident, though in the initial phase of the disease this drug might be worth trying.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)