Indexed with PubMed and Science Citation Index (E) 
Users online: 3435 
     Home | Feedback | Login 
About Current Issue Archive Ahead of print Search Instructions Online Submission Subscribe What's New Contact  
  Navigate here 
   Next article
   Previous article 
   Table of Contents
 Resource links
   Similar in PUBMED
    Search Pubmed for
    Search in Google Scholar for
   Article in PDF (1,839 KB)
   Citation Manager
   Access Statistics
   Reader Comments
   Email Alert *
   Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
   Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded139    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 4    

Recommend this journal


Year : 2010  |  Volume : 76  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 422-424

Benign familial pemphigus (Hailey-Hailey disease) responsive to low dose cyclosporine

As'ad Al-Hamad Dermatology Center, Al-Sabah Hospital, Kuwait

Date of Web Publication21-Jul-2010

Correspondence Address:
Arti Nanda
P.O. Box: 6759, Salmiya, 22078, Salmiya
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.66597

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Nanda A, Khawaja F, Harbi R, Nanda M, Dvorak R, Alsaleh QA. Benign familial pemphigus (Hailey-Hailey disease) responsive to low dose cyclosporine. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2010;76:422-4

How to cite this URL:
Nanda A, Khawaja F, Harbi R, Nanda M, Dvorak R, Alsaleh QA. Benign familial pemphigus (Hailey-Hailey disease) responsive to low dose cyclosporine. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 2010 [cited 2020 Nov 23];76:422-4. Available from:


A 43-year-old Egyptian male was referred to us with eight year history of recurrent painful vesico-pustular eruption followed by painful erosions affecting the groins, axillae and neck. He gave family history of similar disease in six other family members including his younger brother, father, paternal grandfather, paternal uncle, and one paternal cousin. Before coming to us, he had been treated with several treatment modalities including oral and topical antibiotics, topical antifungals, corticosteroids, and dapsone with a partial or temporary improvement. His condition had been steadily deteriorating. On examination, he was observed to have large denuded plaques studded with pus on the erythematous base along with erosions and crustations present on the neck, axillae [Figure 1]a and b and groins. A skin biopsy from the affected skin revealed suprabasal cleft, acantholysis with dilapidated brick wall appearance, and presence of dyskeratotic cells [Figure 2]a and b. In the upper dermis, there was mixed inflammatory cell infiltrate comprising lymphocytes, polymorphs and few eosinophils. A diagnosis of benign familial pemphigus ( Hailey-Hailey disease More Details) was done. He was started on acetretin 0.75 mg/kg per day in combination with topical pimecrolimus and topical antibiotics. His situation continued to worsen and a month later he was shifted to cyclosporine 2.5 mg/kg per day. Within a week of cyclosporine treatment, he showed 80% clearance of skin lesions with a complete clearance in three weeks time [Figure 3]a and b. A week after complete clearance, the dose of cyclosporine was slowly tapered off by 0.5 mg/kg every month and was stopped over six months. During cyclosporine treatment, he was observed to have mild hypertension that was effectively controlled with calcium channel blockers. After discontinuing this treatment, his blood pressure reverted back to normal limits. During a follow-up two years later, he continues to be in comfortable condition with only minor recurrences that could be controlled with topical tacrolimus (0.1%), and topical and/or systemic antibiotics.

Benign familial pemphigus (Hailey-Hailey disease) is a rare autosomal dominant disorder characterized by development of recurrent blisters, erosions, and crustations in the intertrigenous areas. Mutations in ATP2C1 gene, which encodes the human secretary pathway Ca 2+ /Mn 2+ ATPase protein 1 (HSPCA) have been observed to be responsible for Hailey-Hailey disease. [1] Various treatment options include topical or systemic antibiotics, antifungals, corticosteroids in early stages, and dapsone, PUVA, systemic retinoids, cyclosporine, methotrexate, and photodynamic therapy for the recalcitrant cases. [2] Our patient had used several treatment modalities including antibiotics, antifungals, corticosteroids and dapsone earlier and when presented to us had a severe recalcitrant disease. He failed to show an improvement to acetretin tried for four weeks, Infact while on acetretin, his condition continued to deteriorate. We observed a favorable response to low dose of cyclosporine (2.5 mg/kg/day) with complete clearance in three weeks and a week after the clearance, the dose of cyclosporine could be further reduced and was stopped after six months. Cyclosporine in a dose of 2.8-5 mg/kg per day has been reported to be effective earlier in three patients of Hailey-Hailey disease. [3],[4] All patients achieved remissions but a rebound was observed soon after stopping cyclosporine. Adverse effects related to long term use of cyclosporine were described to restrict its use on long term basis. Tacrolimus has been recently used on the same basis to control some cases of Hailey-Hailey disease. [5],[6],[7] Due to a severe, progressive, and recalcitrant disease, a systemic therapy was indicated in our patient. Thus, we used cyclosporine A to control the acute activity followed by antibiotics and topical tacrolimus ointment to treat the minor recurrences. He showed improvement with a low dose of cyclosporine and continued to have sustained remission with only minor recurrences for two years even after stopping the cyclosporine. We feel, at least some patients with severe and recalcitrant disease can be controlled with a low dose cyclosporine and can be maintained in prolonged remission by slow tapering and thus avoiding the toxicity related to high dose or long term use of this drug. The exact mechanism of action, how cyclosporine and tacrolimus work in Hailey-Hailey disease, is not clear. The proposed mechanism of action is suppression of inflammation by their immunomodulatory action. [3],[6] Presumably various stimuli including heat, friction, UV light, etc are known to precipitate or aggravate the disease in these patients by inducing inflammation.

  References Top

1.Hu Z, Bonifas JM, Beech J, Bench G, Shigihara T, Ogawa H, et al. Mutations in ATP2C1, encoding a calcium pump, cause Hailey-Hailey disease. Nat Genet 2000;24:61-5.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
2.Ruiz-Rodriguez R, Alvarez JG, Jaιn P, Acevedo A, Cordoba S. Photodynamic therapy with 5-aminolevulinic acid for recalcitrant familial benign pemphigus (Hailey-Hailey disease). J Am Acad Dermatol 2002;47:740-2.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Ormerod AD, Duncan J, Stankler L. Benign familial pemphigus responsive to cyclospoprin, a possible role for cellular immunity in pathogenesis. Br J Dermatol 1991;124:299-305.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]    
4.Berth-Jones J, Smith SG, Graham-Brown RA. Benign familial chronic pemphigus (Hailey-Hailey disease) responds to cyclosporine. Clin Exp Dermatol 1995;20:70-2.  Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]    
5.Rabeni EJ, Cunningham NM. Effective treatment of Hailey-Hailey disease with topical tacrolimus. J Am Acad Dermatol 2002;47:797-8.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
6.Sand C, Thomsen HK. Topical tacrolimus ointment is effective therapy for Hailey-Hailey disease. Arch Dermatol 2003;139:1401-2.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
7.Rocha Paris F, Fidalgo A, Baptista J, Caldas LL, Ferreira A. Topical tacrolimus in Hailey-Hailey disease. Int J Tissue React 2005;27:151-4.  Back to cited text no. 7      


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

This article has been cited by
1 Laser therapy for the treatment of Hailey-Hailey disease: a systematic review with focus on carbon dioxide laser resurfacing
L.A. Falto-Aizpurua,R.D. Griffith,M.A. Yazdani Abyaneh,K. Nouri
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2014; : n/a
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Carbon Dioxide Laser Treatment in Hailey-Hailey Disease: A Series of 8 Patients
M. Pretel-Irazabal,J.M. Lera-Imbuluzqueta,A. España-Alonso
Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas (English Edition). 2013; 104(4): 325
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Tratamiento de la enfermedad de Hailey-Hailey con láser de dióxido de carbono: tratamiento en 8 pacientes
M. Pretel-Irazabal,J.M. Lera-Imbuluzqueta,A. España-Alonso
Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas. 2013; 104(4): 325
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Glucocorticoid-resistant Evansæ syndrome successfully controlled with low-dose cyclosporine
Janić, D., Krivokapić-Dokmanović, L., Jovanović, N., Lazić, J., Rodić, P., Janković, S.
International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2011; 49(10): 622-626


Print this article  Email this article
Previous article Next article


Online since 15th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow