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Br J Ophthalmol. 2003 Apr;87(4):423-31.

Human recombinant interferon alfa-2a for the treatment of Behçet's disease with sight threatening posterior or panuveitis.

Author information

  • 1University Hospital, Departments of Internal Medicine II (Hematology, Oncology, Immunology and Rheumatology) and Ophthalmology, Tübingen, Germany. ina.koetter@med.uni-tuebingen.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Behçet's disease is a multisystem vasculitis of unknown origin. Standard treatment mainly comprises systemic immunosuppressive agents. Ocular involvement, mostly posterior uveitis with retinal vasculitis, leads to blindness in 20-50% of the involved eyes within 5 years. The efficacy of interferon alfa-2a was studied in patients with sight threatening posterior uveitis or retinal vasculitis.

METHODS:

50 patients were included in this open, non-randomised, uncontrolled prospective study. Recombinant human interferon alfa-2a (rhIFNalpha-2a) was applied at a dose of 6 million units subcutaneously daily. Dose reduction was performed according to a decision tree until discontinuation. Disease activity was evaluated every 2 weeks by the Behçet's disease activity scoring system and the uveitis scoring system.

RESULTS:

Response rate of the ocular manifestations was 92% (three non-responder, one incomplete response). Mean visual acuity rose significantly from 0.56 to 0.84 at week 24 (p<0.0001). Posterior uveitis score of the affected eyes fell by 46% every week (p<0.001). Remission of retinal inflammation was achieved by week 24. Mean Behçet's disease activity score fell from 5.8 to 3.3 at week 24 and further to 2.8 at week 52. After a mean observation period of 36.4 months (range 12-72), 20 patients (40%) are off treatment and disease free for 7-58 months (mean 29.5). In the other patients maintenance IFN dosage is three million units three times weekly.

CONCLUSIONS:

rhIFNalpha-2a is effective in ocular Behçet's disease, leading to significant improvement of vision and complete remission of ocular vasculitis in the majority of the patients.

Comment in

PMID:
12642304
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1771623
Free PMC Article

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