JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Mycophenolate mofetil in Takayasu's arteritis.

Mycophenolate mofetil (MMf) has recently been reported as a useful alternative immunosuppressive drug in autoimmune diseases. There is paucity of literature on its use in Takayasu's arteritis (TA). The aim of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of MMf in Asian Indian patients with Takayasu's arteritis. Records of 21 consecutive patients with TA on treatment with oral MMF attending our centre from January 2005 to August 2008 were studied. The clinical, laboratory and angiography findings were noted and disease activity assessment was done using Indian Takayasu's arteritis activity score (ITAS) and physician's global observation score at baseline and last follow-up. Eleven patients were on steroids alone at baseline while ten patients had received azathioprine prior to administration of mycophenolate. The mean duration of follow-up on mycophenolate was 9.6 (+/-6.4) months. Nineteen patients (90%) received mycophenolate due to active disease, while in the other two patients, it was given to facilitate steroid tapering. Mycophenolate had to be discontinued in one patient due to skin rash. At the last visit, all the remaining 20 patients who continued mycophenolate had improvement in disease activity as evident by the drop in median ITAS [7 (range 0-19) versus 1 (range 0-7); p=0.001]. A similar trend was noted in laboratory markers of inflammation with a reduction in mean Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) (68+/-36.5 versus 43.2+/-34 mm/first hour; p=0.003) and mean C - Reactive protein (CRP) (31+/-46.7 versus 17.3+/-23.9 mg/L; p=1.00). All patients received concomitant steroids, but there was a significant decrease in steroid dosage from 36 (+/-16) mg/day at baseline to 19 (+/-14) mg/day at last follow-up (p<0.001). This study is the largest series till date establishing the use of mycophenolate as a safe and effective steroid-sparing immunosuppressant in Takayasu's arteritis.

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