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Ophthalmology. 2010 Jul;117(7):1430-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.11.022. Epub 2010 Apr 24.

Safety and effectiveness of interferon alpha-2a in treatment of patients with Behçet's uveitis refractory to conventional treatments.

Author information

1
Gülhane Military Medical Faculty, Department of Ophthalmology, Etlik, Ankara, Turkey. gsobaci@hotmail.com

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To evaluate the intermediate-term safety and effectiveness of interferon alpha-2a (IFNalpha2a) in patients with Behçet's uveitis (BU) refractory to corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents.

DESIGN:

Open, nonrandomized, uncontrolled, interventional, prospective study.

PARTICIPANTS:

Fifty-three patients (106 eyes) with active, vision-threatening BU who failed to respond to conventional treatments.

INTERVENTION:

In 53 patients, acute inflammation was suppressed with effective prednisolone dosage (1-2 mg/kg/day, tapered to 10 mg within 4-6 weeks). The patients were treated with IFNalpha2a 4.5 million international units (MIU) 3 times per week for the first 3 months followed by IFNalpha2a 3 MIU 3 times per week for the next 3 months. Observation or other treatment methods were performed according to the decision tree developed for this study.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Remission and complete response (primary outcome measures), frequency of uveitis attacks, visual acuity (VA), and adverse effects (secondary outcome measures).

RESULTS:

During 2 years of follow-up (median 65 months, range 12-130 months), compliance with the therapy was excellent. At the end of 1-year follow-up, treatment response was obtained in 45 of 53 patients (84.9%). The mean attack rate of 3.6+/-1.1 per year (range, 2-8) decreased to 0.56+/-0.75 (range, 0-4) per year (P=0.001). Visual acuity improved (> or = 0.2 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution units from initial VA) in 30 eyes (28.3%) and worsened in 12 eyes (11.3%). Five patients (9.4%) did not respond to the initial treatment, and 3 patients (5.6%) developed severe adverse effects, including psoriasis, epileptic seizure, and extreme tiredness. Fifteen patients (28.3%) were off treatment for all the medications and disease free for 28+/-13.1 months (range, 12-50 months).

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that IFNalpha2a may be a valuable treatment option in BU that is refractory to corticosteroids and conventional immunosuppressive agents. The possible role of IFNalpha2a as a first-line agent in BU should be validated in randomized controlled clinical trials against newly described biologic agents.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S):

The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

PMID:
20417563
DOI:
10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.11.022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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