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      Pemphigus vulgaris*

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          Abstract

          Pemphigus vulgaris is a chronic autoimmune bullous dermatosis that results from the production of autoantibodies against desmogleins 1 and 3. It is the most frequent and most severe form of pemphigus, occurring universally, usually between 40 and 60 years of age. It usually begins with blisters and erosions on the oral mucosa, followed by lesions on other mucous membranes and flaccid blisters on the skin, which can be disseminated. There is a clinical variant, pemphigus vegetans, which is characterized by the presence of vegetating lesions in the large folds of the skin. Clinical suspicion can be confirmed by cytological examination, histopathological examination, and direct and indirect immunofluorescence tests. The treatment is performed with systemic corticosteroids, and immunosuppressive drugs may be associated, among them azathioprine and mycophenolate mofetil. More severe cases may benefit from corticosteroids in the form of intravenous pulse therapy, and recent studies have shown a beneficial effect of rituximab, an anti-CD20 immunobiological drug. It is a chronic disease with mortality around 10%, and septicemia is the main cause of death. Patients need long-term and multidisciplinary follow-up.

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          Most cited references114

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          First-line rituximab combined with short-term prednisone versus prednisone alone for the treatment of pemphigus (Ritux 3): a prospective, multicentre, parallel-group, open-label randomised trial.

          High doses of corticosteroids are considered the standard treatment for pemphigus. Because long-term corticosteroid treatment can cause severe and even life-threatening side-effects in patients with this disease, we assessed whether first-line use of rituximab as adjuvant therapy could improve the proportion of patients achieving complete remission off-therapy, compared with corticosteroid treatment alone, while decreasing treatment side-effects of corticosteroids.
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            Consensus statement on definitions of disease, end points, and therapeutic response for pemphigus.

            Our scientific knowledge of pemphigus has dramatically progressed in recent years. However, despite the availability of various therapeutic options for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, only a few multicenter controlled trials have helped to define effective therapies in pemphigus. A major obstacle in comparing therapeutic outcomes between centers is the lack of generally accepted definitions and measurements for the clinical evaluation of patients with pemphigus. Common terms and end points of pemphigus are needed so that experts in the field can accurately measure and assess disease extent, activity, severity, and therapeutic response, and thus facilitate and advance clinical trials. This consensus statement from the International Pemphigus Committee represents 2 years of collaborative efforts to attain mutually acceptable common definitions for pemphigus. These should assist in development of consistent reporting of outcomes in future studies.
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              A single cycle of rituximab for the treatment of severe pemphigus.

              The combination of multiple cycles of rituximab and intravenous immune globulins has been reported to be effective in patients with severe pemphigus. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of a single cycle of rituximab in severe types of pemphigus. We studied 21 patients with pemphigus whose disease had not responded to an 8-week course of 1.5 mg of prednisone per kilogram of body weight per day (corticosteroid-refractory disease), who had had at least two relapses despite doses of prednisone higher than 20 mg per day (corticosteroid-dependent disease), or who had severe contraindications to corticosteroids. The patients were treated with four weekly infusions of 375 mg of rituximab per square meter of body-surface area. The primary end point was complete remission 3 months after the end of rituximab treatment; complete remission was defined as epithelialization of all skin and mucosal lesions. Eighteen of 21 patients (86%; 95% confidence interval, 64 to 97%) had a complete remission at 3 months. The disease relapsed in nine patients after a mean of 18.9+/-7.9 months. After a median follow-up of 34 months, 18 patients (86%) were free of disease, including 8 who were not receiving corticosteroids; the mean prednisone dose decreased from 94.0+/-10.2 to 12.0+/-7.5 mg per day (P=0.04) in patients with corticosteroid-refractory disease and from 29.1+/-12.4 to 10.9+/-16.5 mg per day (P=0.007) in patients with corticosteroid-dependent disease. Pyelonephritis developed in one patient 12 months after rituximab treatment, and one patient died of septicemia 18 months after rituximab treatment. These patients had a profound decrease in the number of circulating B lymphocytes but normal serum levels of IgG. A single cycle of rituximab is an effective treatment for pemphigus. Because of its potentially severe side effects, its use should be limited to the most severe types of the disease. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00213512 [ClinicalTrials.gov].). Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                An Bras Dermatol
                An Bras Dermatol
                abd
                Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia
                Sociedade Brasileira de Dermatologia
                0365-0596
                1806-4841
                May-Jun 2019
                May-Jun 2019
                : 94
                : 3
                : 264-278
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Dermatology, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
                [2 ] Department of Pathology, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
                Author notes
                Mailing Address: Adriana Maria Porro. E-mail: adriana.porro@ 123456uol.com.br
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0736-4790
                http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8145-268X
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0217-6643
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3340-4074
                Article
                10.1590/abd1806-4841.20199011
                6668932
                31365654
                4c8538e7-9ea2-40fb-b1cd-d59990092949

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivative License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited and the work is not changed in any way.

                History
                : 21 December 2018
                : 02 March 2019
                Categories
                Continuing Medical Education

                autoantibodies,vesiculobullous skin diseases,desmogleins,autoimmune diseases,pemphigus

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