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Lancet. 2000 Feb 19;355(9204):605-9.

Interferon alfa-2b, colchicine, and benzathine penicillin versus colchicine and benzathine penicillin in Behçet's disease: a randomised trial.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Hacettepe University of Medical School, Ankara, Turkey. halukd@hacettepe.edu.tr

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sight-threatening eye involvement is a serious complication of Behçet's disease. Extraocular complications such as arthritis, vascular occlusive disorders, mucocutaneous lesions, and central-nervous-system disease may lead to morbidity and even death. We designed a prospective study in newly diagnosed patients without previous eye disease to assess whether prevention of eye involvement and extraocular manifestations, and preservation of visual acuity are possible with combination treatments with and without interferon alfa-2b.

METHODS:

Patients were randomly assigned 3 million units interferon alfa-2b subcutaneously every other day for the first 6 months plus 1.5 mg colchicine orally daily and 1.2 million units benzathine penicillin intramuscularly every 3 weeks (n=67), or colchicine and benzathine penicillin alone (n=68). The primary endpoint was visual-acuity loss. Analysis was by intention to treat.

FINDINGS:

Significantly fewer patients who were treated with interferon had eye involvement than did patients who did not receive interferon (eight vs 27, relative risk 0.21 [95% CI 0.09-0.50], p<0.001). Ocular attack rate was 0.2 (SD 0.62) per year with interferon therapy and 1.02 (1.13) without interferon therapy (p=0.0001). Visual-acuity loss was significantly lower among patients treated with interferon than in those without interferon (two vs 13, relative risk 0.13 [95% CI 0.03-0.60], p=0.003). Arthritis episodes, vascular events, and mucocutaneous lesions were also less frequent in patients treated with interferon than in those not receiving interferon. No serious side-effects were reported.

INTERPRETATION:

Therapy with interferon alfa-2b, colchicine, and benzathine penicillin seems to be an effective regimen in Behçet's disease for the prevention of recurrent eye attacks and extraocular complications, and for the protection of vision.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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