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Br J Dermatol. 2009 Dec;161(6):1365-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09330.x. Epub 2009 Jun 5.

A randomized controlled trial of R-salbutamol for topical treatment of discoid lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Dermatology, Health Sciences Faculty, University of Copenhagen, Roskilde Hospital, Roskilde, Denmark.



In a recent open pilot trial, R-salbutamol sulphate, a well-known molecule with anti-inflammatory effects, was tested successfully on patients with therapy-resistant discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE).


To compare the efficacy and safety of R-salbutamol cream 0.5% vs. placebo on DLE lesions in a multicentre, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled phase II trial.


Thirty-seven patients with at least one newly developed DLE lesion were randomized - 19 to the R-salbutamol cream 0.5% and 18 to placebo - and treated twice daily for 8 weeks. Efficacy was evaluated through scores of erythema, scaling/hypertrophy and induration as well as pain and itching; general improvement scored by the investigator and global improvement scored by patients' assessment were also evaluated.


The mean area under the curve of improvement for scaling/hypertrophy, pain, itching and global patient assessment was significantly better for the actively treated patients as compared with placebo (scaling/hypertrophy, P = 0.0262; pain, P = 0.0238; itching, P = 0.0135; global patient assessment, P = 0.045). Moreover, the percentage of patients without induration was significantly higher in the active group compared with the placebo group (P = 0.013), and a statistically significantly greater decrease in the size of the lesional area was also seen in the overall analysis of the R-salbutamol-treated patients (P = 0.0197). No serious adverse events were reported.


Application of R-salbutamol cream 0.5% was safe and well tolerated. Statistically significant effects were seen on scaling/hypertrophy, induration, pain and itching as well as patient global assessment, suggesting that R-salbutamol could be a promising new topical therapy alternative for DLE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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