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Br J Rheumatol. 1998 Jun;37(6):659-64.

Wegener's granulomatosis: long-term follow-up of patients treated with pulse cyclophosphamide.

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Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital, Tromsø, Norway.


Treatment with daily oral cyclophosphamide (CY) has improved survival in Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), but is associated with severe and potentially lethal adverse effects. Less toxic treatment regimens, such as pulse CY, have been used, but the effect has been questioned. We have treated 11 patients with WG with pulse CY (15 mg/kg initially every second week, gradually increasing the pulse interval). After 4.5 yr follow-up and a total of 501 pulses of CY, one patient died and eight patients (73%) were in complete remission. Remission was induced in 91% of the patients after a median period of 3.5 months and relapses were seen in 60%. With the same treatment protocol, a new complete remission was induced in 75% of those relapsing. Except for one patient who died, no patient developed end-stage renal failure. Haemorrhagic cystitis was not observed and no malignancies recorded. Severe infections were seen in 36%, but none caused by Pneumocystis carinii. Nausea was the most frequent side-effect, seen in 64% of the patients. We conclude that treatment with pulse CY every second week is safe and effective in inducing remission and treating relapses in WG. The relapse rate seems to be higher than with low-dose oral CY, but the cumulative dose of CY is less.

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