Mycophenolate mofetil is effective in reducing disease flares in systemic lupus erythematosus patients: a retrospective study

Lupus. 2009 Apr;18(5):394-9. doi: 10.1177/0961203308099242.


Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is effective in the treatment of patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We sought to evaluate its efficacy in reducing the number of disease flares in adults with SLE. For this retrospective study, all patients seen at our institution over a six year period, 1999-2005, with the diagnosis of SLE treated with MMD were identified. Data regarding lupus flare was obtained for patients at least one and up to two years prior to starting MMF. The number of flares prior to MMF therapy was compared to the number of lupus flares in the one to two year period after starting MMF. Clinical assessment was performed with the SELENA-SLEDAI instrument. Differences between groups were compared using the signed rank test. The rate of flares (flares per person-year), before and after the introduction of MMF were compared assuming the occurrence of flares followed a Poisson distribution. In the evaluable 67 patients, the mean time period of followup prior to starting MMF was 14.1 months (range 0.3-24), mean time period of follow-up after starting MMF was 14.8 months (range 1.5-24); and mean MMF dose was 1328 mg/day (range 250-3000). The mean flare rate was reduced from 8.9 to 5.3 per 10 personyears and the mean prednisone dose was reduced on average 7.3 mg/day after starting MMF therapy. MMF treatment significantly reduced the total number of lupus flares and prednisone requirements. Even with the reduction in mean daily prednisone dose, both the SLEDAI and physican global assessment also improved during MMF therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid