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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2006 Dec;244(12):1692-5.

Results of interferon-alfa therapy in patients with Behçet uveitis.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.



To report on the results of interferon-alpha 2a (IFNalpha) treatment in patients with Behçet uveitis unresponsive to conventional immunosuppressive therapy.


We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 44 patients who had been treated with IFNalpha between September 2001 and May 2005. The initial dose of IFNalpha was 6 MU/day in 37 patients (84.1%) and 3 MU/day in 7 patients (15.9%), and was gradually tapered after ocular inflammation was suppressed. Immunosuppressive agents were discontinued. Oral corticosteroids were discontinued or maintained at a dosage of less than 10 mg prednisone equivalent per day. Main outcome measures were recurrence of posterior or panuveitis attacks and changes in visual acuity.


Sixteen patients (36.4%) remained relapse free during treatment, whereas 28 (63.6%) patients had recurrent uveitis attacks. Four of these were considered treatment failures and were switched to other treatments. In the remaining 40 patients, the mean duration of treatment was 12.4+/-10.8 months (range 3-45 months). In 9 of 40 patients (22.5%) treatment could be discontinued 22.2+/-13.4 months after therapy, and 8 (20%) of these patients had sustained remission for up to 24 months. Three patients (7.5%) were switched to other therapies because of side effects. The frequency of uveitis attacks per 6 months was reduced from 1.6+/-1.2 to 0.8+/-0.9 in 26 patients who had a minimum follow-up of 6 months before and after IFNalpha therapy (p<0.05). There was a significant improvement in visual acuity and this was preserved throughout follow-up in 38 (95%) of 40 patients.


A partial or complete response was obtained with IFNalpha therapy in 91% of Turkish patients with Behçet uveitis refractory to conventional immunosuppressive treatment. Our results suggest that there may be differences in therapeutic efficacy and side-effect profile of IFNalpha in different patient populations. Comparative studies are needed to investigate this hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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