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Mycophenolate sodium for subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus resistant to standard therapy.

BACKGROUND: Approximately 75-95% of patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus respond to antimalarial therapy and/or topical glucocorticosteroids. Immunosuppressive agents are usually considered a second-line approach in patients with resistant disease.

OBJECTIVES: This was a prospective, nonrandomized, open pilot study to evaluate the efficacy of mycophenolate sodium monotherapy in patients with recalcitrant subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE).

METHODS: Monotherapy with oral enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium 1440 mg daily was given for a total of 3 months. Treatment outcome was evaluated by means of a validated clinical score for cutaneous lupus erythematosus, the Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index (CLASI), as well as 20-MHz ultrasound measurements and colorimetry. Safety assessment included the monitoring of adverse effects and clinical laboratory parameters.

RESULTS: Ten patients with active SCLE resistant to at least one standard therapy were included in the trial. Mycophenolate sodium led to a remarkable improvement of skin lesions, resulting in a significant decrease of the mean +/- SD CLASI from 10.8 +/- 6.0 at the beginning to 2.9 +/- 2.6 at the end of therapy. Clinical improvement was confirmed by ultrasonographic assessments and colorimetry. No serious side-effects were noted.

CONCLUSIONS: Mycophenolate sodium is beneficial and safe in the treatment of patients with SCLE that failed standard therapy. However, these preliminary data must be confirmed by randomized controlled trials including a larger sample size.

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