Review Article

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 315-326

Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy in Autoimmune Mucocutaneous Blistering Diseases

A Review of the Evidence for its Efficacy and Safety
  • Hakan M. GürcanAffiliated withCenter for Blistering Diseases, New England Baptist Hospital
  • , Sunil JephAffiliated withCenter for Blistering Diseases, New England Baptist Hospital
  • , A. Razzaque AhmedAffiliated withCenter for Blistering Diseases, New England Baptist Hospital Email author 

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Abstract

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is a biologic agent that is being increasingly used in the treatment of autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disorders. It is approved by the US FDA for the treatment of primary immunodeficiencies, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, Kawasaki disease, bone marrow transplantation in patients aged over 20 years, chronic B-cell lymphocytic leukemia, and pediatric AIDS. IVIg has been used off-label for several diseases, clinical symptoms and syndromes.

Our aim was to determine if there is evidence to support the efficacy of IVIg therapy in autoimmune mucocutaneous blistering diseases (AMBDs). We searched the PubMed database for studies on pemphigus and pemphigoid using the following criteria: (i) English language; (ii) minimum of five patients; (iii) diagnosis based on histology and immunopathology; and (iv) statistical analysis of data for comparison of efficacy provided. We evaluated the data and present information on the number of participants in each study, pre-IV g therapy, indications for the use of IVIg, IVIg protocol (dose and interval) used, concomitant therapies, clinical outcome, follow-up period, and serologic studies. The quality of the evidence presented in this review is at Level A according to the UK National Health Service criteria.

Twenty-three studies that were published between May 1999 and April 2010 were identified. One randomized controlled trial was found and all other studies were case series. Data on 260 patients treated with IVIg were analyzed: 191 patients with pemphigus and 69 patients with pemphigoid. Overall, 245 patients showed improvement with IVIg therapy. IVIg demonstrated a corticosteroid-sparing effect. In the studies presented, the incidence of serious adverse effects was not significant.

The best available evidence in the literature indicates that IVIg is efficacious and has a good safety profile in the treatment of AMBDs.