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Lupus. 2009 May;18(6):516-21. doi: 10.1177/0961203308099471.

Does mycophenolate mofetil prevent extra-renal flares in systemic lupus erythematosus? Results from an observational study of patients in a single practice treated for up to 5 years.

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Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


In this study, the clinical course and change in extra-renal manifestations of patients with SLE taking mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) were evaluated. The charts of 75 consecutively identified patients on MMF from a single practice were reviewed for demographics, dates of SLE diagnosis, initiation, indication or discontinuation of MMF and other medications. British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) organ system data were identified for 3 months prior to MMF and then for the subsequent 5 years. BILAG scores for each organ system and an overall score were calculated for intervals of 6 months. The mean age of 75 subjects was 35.8 years with SLE mean disease duration of 99.2 months. Indications for starting MMF were renal (70.7%), musculoskeletal (10.6%), mucocutaneous (9.3%), cardiorespiratory (5.3%), haematologic (4%), vasculitic (2.7%), neurologic (1.3%) and other (18.7%). The mean duration of treatment was 3.3 years; 22 discontinuations occurred. Overall, there was a >50% improvement in composite BILAG scores for 49.3% (37/75) of patients in the first year of treatment and in 20% (15/75) of patients who were still on MMF at >or=5 years. Most flares occurred at second and third year of treatment. The general and renal systems have the most improvement and clinical remissions; the musculoskeletal, mucocutaneous and haematological systems have the most recurrences. Approximately, 50% and 20% of patients taking MMF showed improvement in overall lupus disease activity at both 1 and 5 years, respectively. When evaluating organ system subsets separately, MMF improved disease activity in the first year, but had little effect in preventing new organ-specific flares, with most flares taking place in second and third year of treatment.

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