Efficacy of mycophenolate mofetil in antimalarial-resistant cutaneous lupus erythematosus

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Oct;65(4):717-721.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2010.08.011.


Background: Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is an immunomodulatory drug shown to be effective in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus. Several anecdotal reports have suggested that MMF may be efficacious in the treatment of cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE).

Objectives: Our objective was to summarize and report our experience with the use of MMF in patients with CLE recalcitrant to antimalarial therapy.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed our open-label observations of 24 patients with CLE refractory to antimalarial therapy. The records of all patients visiting the Rheumatic Skin Disease Clinic at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas from January 1, 2001, to July 1, 2006, were reviewed.

Results: MMF was tolerated well and, in conjunction with other therapies, was highly effective in the treatment of antimalarial-resistant CLE. With the addition of MMF to the existing regimen, a majority of patients achieved full control of disease signs and symptoms. All patients experienced some degree of improvement.

Limitations: This is an open-label retrospective review. Severity of disease was assessed by qualitative assessment of the clinician. MMF was not used as monotherapy.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that MMF, used as an additional agent in conjunction with standard therapy, is both well tolerated and efficacious in the treatment of refractory CLE. Despite the obvious limitations of the study, we believe this represents further evidence that MMF should be considered early in the treatment of patients refractory to antimalarial therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antimalarials
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid