Evaluation of cyclophosphamide pulse therapy as an adjuvant to oral corticosteroid in the management of pemphigus vulgaris

Authors


  • Conflict of interest: none declared

Correspondence: Vinod K. Sharma, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, 110029, India

E-mail: aiimsvks@yahoo.com

Summary

Corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment for pemphigus. However, despite the introduction of adjuvant therapy for PV, the mortality rate has remained static over the past 2 decades, and consequently, a new adjuvant therapy that is both safe and effective is needed. Intravenous pulse cyclophosphamide has shown encouraging results in few studies, with a better safety profile than the oral formulation, and with better treatment compliance. We undertook a randomized, prospective, non-blinded trial to assess the efficacy of cyclophosphamide pulse therapy (CPT) as an adjuvant to oral corticosteroid in pemphigus vulgaris (PV). We enrolled 60 patients with mild to moderate active disease to receive either daily oral prednisolone or intravenous CPT prednisolone for 1 year, and they were then followed up for another year. At the end of the study period, the time taken to initiate response was similar in both groups, but in the group who received pulse cyclophosphamide, there was a reduced time to remission, a greater proportion of cases who achieved remission, a lower number of patients who relapsed while on treatment or after stopping treatment, and a lower cumulative dose of corticosteroid. Hence, the overall trend was in favour of CPT, although this was not significant. CPT also had a good safety profile. Based on the results of this trial, CPT may be a useful adjuvant in PV in terms of reducing time to remission, relapse rates and cumulative dose of steroid, and it has a good safety profile.

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