Background: There are still no definite treatments for refractory Kawasaki disease (KD). In this pilot study, we evaluated the use of cyclosporin A (CyA) treatment in patients with refractory KD.
Methods: We prospectively collected clinical data of CyA treatment (4-8 mg/kg/d, oral administration) for refractory KD patients using the same protocol among several hospitals. Refractory KD is defined as the persistence or recurrence of fever (37.5°C or more of an axillary temperature) at the end of the second intravenous immunoglobulin (2 g/kg) following the initial one.
Results: Subjects were enrolled out of 329 KD patients who were admitted to our 8 hospitals between January 2008 and June 2010. Among a total of 28 patients of refractory KD treated with CyA, 18 (64.3%) responded promptly to be afebrile within 3 days and had decreased C-reactive protein levels, the other 4 became afebrile within 4 to 5 days. However, 6 patients (21.4%) failed to become afebrile within 5 days after the start of CyA and/or high fever returned after becoming afebrile within 5 days. Although hyperkalemia developed in 9 patients at 3 to 7 days after the start of CyA treatment, there were no serious adverse effects such as arrhythmias. Four patients (1.2%), 2 before and the other 2 after the start of CyA treatment, developed coronary arterial lesions.
Conclusion: CyA treatment is considered safe and well tolerated, and a promising option for patients with refractory KD. Further investigations will be needed to clarify optimal dose, safety, and timing of CyA treatment.