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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994 Apr;30(4):547-50.

Pemphigus in remission: value of negative direct immunofluorescence in management.

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National Skin Centre, Singapore.



Pemphigus vulgaris is characterized by relapses and remission, and there are currently no sensitive markers to predict remission.


Our purpose was to determine if direct immunofluorescence (DIF) performed during clinical remission of pemphigus is useful in management of the disease.


Twenty-eight patients with pemphigus that was in clinical remission (i.e., patients who were taking low-dose prednisolone [10 mg/day] and had been blister-free for at least 6 months) underwent DIF. Therapy was then discontinued and patients were prospectively followed up for 5 years.


Twenty-two patients had negative results and six patients had positive results of DIF. The disease remained in remission in three quarters of the patients with negative results of DIF. Of those who had a relapse, intercellular C3 on DIF and oral lesions on initial presentation were important risk factors, and the relapses in patients with negative results of DIF were mild. The biopsy site was unimportant. All patients with positive results of DIF had major relapses within 3 months of cessation of therapy.


DIF should be performed before therapy is discontinued. A negative DIF finding is a good indicator of remission in pemphigus.

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