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Dermatology. 1999;198(2):140-4.

Short-time extracorporeal photochemotherapy in the treatment of drug-resistant autoimmune bullous diseases.

Author information

1
Department of Dermatology, Photopheresis Center, University of Jena, Germany. uwol@derma.uni-jena.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bullous pemphigoid (BP) and pemphigus vulgaris (PV) are potentially severe diseases. In drug-resistant PV and pemphigus foliaceus, long-term adjuvant treatment with extracorporeal photochemotherapy (photopheresis, ECP) has been reported to induce remission. Only limited numbers of patients have been reported so far. No information about the effectiveness in drug-resistant BP is available.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Seven patients with drug-resistant autoimmune bullous diseases have been referred to the photopheresis center of Jena (3 x PV, 3 x BP, 1 x pemphigus foliaceus). The age ranged from 31 to 85 years. ECP was performed on 2 consecutive days once a month. Oral 8-methoxypsoralen was used as photosensitizer. Previous immunosuppressive treatment with either prednisolone or prednisolone/ azathioprine was continued.

RESULTS:

Complete remission (absence of skin or mucous membrane lesions) was achieved in the 6 patients with PV and BP after 1-4 cycles. In the patient suffering from pemphigus foliaceus, a partial remission (> 50% improvement) was observed; in all except this patient, the immunosuppressive treatment could be tapered. Long-term remission was achieved. No severe side effects were observed. The treatment was well tolerated.

CONCLUSIONS:

Short-time ECP is an effective and safe adjuvant treatment for patients with drug-resistant autoimmune bullous diseases. It can induce remission and allows dose tapering of the immunosuppressive drugs.

PMID:
10325460
DOI:
10.1159/000018090
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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