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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Jan;25(1):82-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2010.03703.x.

The role of therapeutic plasma exchange in pemphigus vulgaris.

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Department of Dermatology, Sheba Medical Center, Affiliated to Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.



The treatment of pemphigus, an autoimmune bullous disease, is based on the combination of corticosteroids and adjuvant therapies, such as immunosuppressive drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs and immunomodulatory procedures, such as intravenous immunoglobulin and therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE).


This study aims to assess our experience with TPE as a steroid-sparing modality in moderate and severe intractable pemphigus patients.


A retrospective evaluation for all intractable pemphigus patients treated by TPE in a university-affiliated tertiary referral medical centre between the years 1998 and 2008. Treatment protocol included three TPE treatments weekly for 1-3 months, combined with monthly pulse therapy of dexamethasone and/or cyclophosphamide. Maintenance therapy was based on once/bi weekly TPE treatments or monthly intravenous immunoglobulin.


Seven patients were included in the study, four with severe pemphigus vulgaris and three with moderate disease. Six of the seven patients responded to TPE: Four patients (57%) achieved complete remission and two patients (28%) achieved partial remission on minimal therapy. Mild adverse effects related to TPE were observed in two patients and included dizziness and mild headache.


TPE is a well-tolerated effective steroid-sparing agent in recalcitrant pemphigus patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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