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Apr 2012

Low Blood Concentration of Hydroxychloroquine in Patients With Refractory Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus: A French Multicenter Prospective Study

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Dermatology-Allergology, Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Hôpital Tenon (Drs Francès and Soutou), Department of Dermatology, AP-HP, Université Paris XII, Hôpital Henri Mondor (Drs Cosnes and Ingen-Housz-Oro), Department of Pharmacology, AP-HP, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtriere (Dr Zahr), and Department of Internal Medicine, AP-HP, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtriere, (Dr Costedoat-Chalumeau), Paris, France; Department of Internal Medicine and Réseau d’Epidémiologie Clinique International Francophone, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) d’Amiens, Amiens, France (Dr Duhaut); Department of Dermatology, Université Montpellier 1, Hôpital Saint Eloi, CHU Montpellier, Montpellier, France (Dr Bessis); Department of Dermatology; CHU Pontchaillou, Rennes 1 University, Rennes, France (Dr Chevrant-Breton); Department of Dermatology and Internal Medicine, CHU Pointe-à-Pitre-Abymes, Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe (Dr Cordel); and Department of Dermatology, Université de Strasbourg and Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France (Dr Lipsker).

Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(4):479-484. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.2558

Objective To study the relation between blood concentration of hydroxychloroquine and the clinical efficacy of hydroxychloroquine sulfate in a series of patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE).

Design Prospective multicenter study. A staff dermatologist blinded to blood hydroxychloroquine concentrations performed a standardized review of medical records and assessment of hydroxychloroquine efficacy in the following 3 categories: complete remission, partial remission (clearing of >50% of skin lesions), or treatment failure. Whole-blood samples were collected for measurement of blood hydroxychloroquine concentration.

Setting Fourteen French university hospitals.

Patients Three hundred consecutive patients with subacute or chronic CLE who had been treated with hydroxychloroquine for at least 3 months.

Main Outcome Measures The statistical significance of correlation between blood hydroxychloroquine concentration and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and the statistical associations in univariate and multivariate analyses of complete remission with several variables.

Results The study included 300 patients with discoid lupus erythematosus (n = 160), subacute CLE (n = 86), lupus erythematosus tumidus (n = 52), chilblain lupus (n = 26), and lupus panniculitis (n = 16); 38 of these patients had 2 or more associated forms. Median blood hydroxychloroquine concentration was significantly higher in patients with complete remission (910 [range, <50 to 3057] ng/mL) compared with partial remission (692 [<50 to 2843] ng/mL) and treatment failure (569 [<50 to 2242] ng/mL) (P = .007). In the multivariate analysis, complete remission was associated with higher blood hydroxychloroquine concentrations (P = .005) and the absence of discoid lesions (P = .004). Thirty patients (10.0%) had very low blood hydroxychloroquine concentrations (<200 ng/mL) and may be considered nonadherent to the treatment regimen.

Conclusion Monitoring hydroxychloroquine blood concentrations might improve the management of refractory CLE.