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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 74  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 217--221

Current regimen of pulse therapy for pemphigus: Minor modifications, improved results

Consultant Dermatologist, Skin Diseases Centre, 1-A, Masjid Moth, DDA Flats, Phase I, Outer Ring Road, Near Chirag Delhi Flyover, New Delhi - 110048, India

Correspondence Address:
J S Pasricha
Skin Diseases Centre, 1-A, Masjid Moth, DDA Flats, Phase I, Outer Ring Road, Near Chirag Delhi Flyover, New Delhi - 110 048
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.41366

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Background: If administered properly, dexamethasone cyclophosphamide pulse (DCP) therapy has the potential to effect lifelong recovery from pemphigus. Aims: The objective of this paper is to highlight various parameters of DCP therapy and also, to report the effects of a few modifications in the regimen. Methods: An analysis of 123 patients treated with the DCP/DP regimen over a period of five years (1998 to 2002) is presented here. Seventeen patients who did not start/continue the treatment and three patients who died during the treatment have been excluded from the analysis. Twenty patients who had not yet started families were given only dexamethasone pulses (DPs) while 103 patients received DCPs. Low dose (50 mg/day) cyclophosphamide was used as in the standard regimen. The three modifications introduced into the regimen were: (1) an additional daily dose of oral betamethasone sufficient to control the disease activity during phase I, which was progressively tapered off completely as the patient recovered, (2) use of systemic antibiotics if the patient had skin lesions, and oral anti-candida drugs if the patient had oral ulcers until complete healing, and (3) insistence on thorough cleaning of the skin and scalp with a normal soap and shampoo, and proper maintenance of oral hygiene in spite of skin/mucosal lesions. The regimen consisted of DCP/DP repeated in exactly 28-day cycles, along with 50 mg cyclophosphamide per day, insistence on completing the treatment and avoiding irregular pulses in all patients. The number of DCPs/DPs during phase I varied in different patients depending upon the dose of betamethasone used and the rate of recovery, but phase II (nine DCPs/DPs in exactly 28-day cycles along with 50 mg cyclophosphamide per day) and phase III (only 50 mg cyclophosphamide per day) was fixed at nine months each. This was followed by posttreatment follow-up (phase IV). Results: At present, all the patients are in complete remission. The confirmed period of posttreatment, disease-free follow-up period has already been more than five years in 62 patients, 3-5 years in 41 patients, 2-3 years in three patients and less than two years in six patients. Eight DCP patients and three DP patients developed a relapse (the relapse rates thus being 7.7 and 15% respectively) and received a second course of pulse therapy. They are also in remission at present. The duration of phase I was three months in 62 patients, 4-5 months in 28 patients, 6-9 months in 13, 10-12 months in nine patients and more than 12 months in 11 patients. The maximum daily dose of betamethasone used in these patients was nil in 17 patients, 1-2 mg in 85, 3-4 mg in 16, and >4 mg in five patients. Conclusions: The modifications employed in this study could ensure the cure of all pemphigus patients by using DCP therapy administered at a private clinic.


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Online since 15th March '04
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