Treatment of primary Sjögren's syndrome with hydroxychloroquine

Am J Med. 1988 Oct 14;85(4A):62-7. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(88)90365-8.


Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized by lymphocytic infiltration of the salivary/lacrimal glands, autoantibody production, and polyclonal hyperglobulinemia. In view of the efficacy and relative safety of hydroxychloroquine in other autoimmune disorders, the potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine (200 mg per day for 12 months) in 10 patients with Sjögren's syndrome was evaluated. Changes in levels of total immunoglobulin, antibody against Sjögren's syndrome-associated antigen B, rheumatoid factor, and in vitro production of immunoglobulin in the serum were evaluated. For comparison, 10 patients matched according to age and sex, who did not receive hydroxychloroquine were studied. In the hydroxychloroquine-treated group, the following observations were made: (1) significantly decreased total immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA levels with little change in IgM levels; (2) significant decrease in IgA-rheumatoid factor with a smaller decrease in IgM-rheumatoid factor; (3) decreased IgG anti-Sjögren's syndrome-associated antigen B autoantibody; and (4) decreased erythrocyte sedimentation rate and increased hemoglobin level. Further, a specific idiotype present on their rheumatoid factor (defined by monoclonal antibody 17-109) was significantly decreased, with disappearance of detectable circulating paraprotein in two hydroxychloroquine-treated patients. Finally, rheumatoid factor production in vitro by lymphocytes from hydroxychloroquine-treated patients using a T cell-dependent mitogen was significantly decreased. These results suggest that hydroxychloroquine modulates lymphoproliferation in patients with Sjögren's syndrome and may prevent progression to extraglandular sites of neoplastic transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / therapeutic use*
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Paraproteins / analysis
  • Rheumatoid Factor / analysis
  • Rheumatoid Factor / biosynthesis
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / blood
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Hemoglobins
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Paraproteins
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Rheumatoid Factor