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.