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Clin Dermatol. 2010 May-Jun;28(3):337-43. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2009.06.018.

Adjuvant drugs in autoimmune bullous diseases, efficacy versus safety: Facts and controversies.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Second University of Naples, Via Sergio Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.


During the last decades, the conventional therapy for autoimmune blistering diseases has been high-dose, long-term systemic corticosteroid and immunosuppressive agents or adjuvant drugs. Long-term, high-dose steroid therapy can result in serious adverse effects. The rationale for using adjuvant drugs is that concerns reducing the need for corticosteroids, and hence, their side effects, or it may result in better control of the disease, or both. Immunosuppressive agents are not free of adverse effects, however. Prolonged immune suppression may account for high rates of morbidity, disability, and possible death. There is no consensus about the first-choice adjuvant drug for the management of blistering autoimmune diseases. This contribution evaluates six adjuvant drugs-cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, cyclosporine, mycophenolate mofetil, intravenous immunoglobulin, and rituximab-and discusses the choice of a "winning drug" that is effective and safe.

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