Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy in Patients with Multiple Mucosal Involvement in Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid
Mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP), also known as cicatricial pemphigoid (CP), is an autoimmune mucocutaneous, blistering disease which can lead to blindness and/or death from sudden asphyxiation, secondary to a scarring process. Conventional therapy for the treatment of MMP consists of high-dose systemic corticosteroids and/or immunosuppressive agents. Some patients do not respond to these treatments and develop multiple serious side effects, which can be potentially fatal. In such patients, alternative treatment modalities are needed. This study presents the use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy in 15 patients with severe MMP whose disease was nonresponsive to the prolonged use of high-dose systemic corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents and who developed multiple side effects to them. All 15 patients received an IVIg dose of 1-2 g/kg/cycle. The following objective parameters were used to assess the clinical outcome pre- and post-IVIg therapy: number of side effects, frequencies of recurrences and relapses, duration and total dosage of prednisone therapy, and the quality of life. The differences in these variables between the pre- and post-IVIg data were statistically analyzed using the SAS UNIVARIATE software running the two-sided Wilcoxon signed-rank and sign tests. A statistically significant difference was observed between pre- and post-IVIg therapy data when comparing the aforementioned variables. All 15 patients had an effective clinical response, were able to discontinue previous systemic therapies, and eventually achieved a prolonged clinical remission. IVIg improved the quality of life in all 15 patients and demonstrated a steroid-sparing effect. No serious side effects were observed. IVIg therapy is a safe and effective alternative modality in the treatment of patients with nonresponsive and progressive MMP and can induce a sustained clinical remission.
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