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February 1988

Pemphigus Vulgaris: Combined Treatment With Intravenous Corticosteroid Pulse Therapy, Plasmapheresis, and Azathioprine

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, and the Dermatology Section, Medical Service, Birmingham Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(2):236-239. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670020054017

• A 13-year-old child is described who presented with generalized pemphigus vulgaris associated with extraordinarily high titers of circulating autoantibodies against the pemphigus antigen. Because of the lack of response to treatment with reasonably high doses of oral corticosteroids, as well as the very high titer of circulating autoantibodies observed, this patient was treated with intravenous corticosteroid pulse therapy followed by plasmapheresis and then by combination immunosuppressive therapy (prednisone and azathioprine). A rapid clinical response was induced, correlating with reduction and subsequent elimination of the circulating pemphigus autoantibodies. Using such combination therapy, a remission of 12 months was achieved, and prednisone therapy was completely, albeit temporarily, tapered and then discontinued. Subsequent disease flare was then easily controlled with a short course of low-dose oral corticosteroid therapy.

(Arch Dermatol 1988;124:236-239)

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