Modern Rheumatology

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 318–322 | Cite as

Response to hydroxychloroquine in Japanese patients with lupus-related skin disease using the cutaneous lupus erythematosus disease area and severity index (CLASI)

  • Naoto YokogawaEmail author
  • Akiko Tanikawa
  • Masayuki Amagai
  • Yukihiko Kato
  • Yoko Momose
  • Satoru Arai
  • Hikaru Eto
  • Takaharu Ikeda
  • Fukumi Furukawa
Original Article



Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is not available in Japan. To design a clinical trial of HCQ, we evaluated the response to HCQ in Japanese patients with lupus-related skin disease using the cutaneous lupus erythematosus disease area and severity index (CLASI).


Twenty-seven patients with lupus-related skin disease who started HCQ at four hospitals were included. Patients were categorized into responders by the CLASI response criteria. The points and the rate of improvement in the CLASI activity score after 16 weeks of treatment were analyzed, focusing on six parameters: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), skin manifestations, disease duration, prednisolone, smoking, and severity.


Twenty-seven patients, including 17 with SLE (6 with SLE/Sjögren’s syndrome), were analyzed retrospectively. Twenty-three patients (85 %) were categorized as responders. The mean CLASI activity score improved from 10.1 to 4.5 (p < 0.0001). The improvement rate did not differ in these parameters except for that of annular erythema (81.6 versus 34.3 %, p = 0.036). On multivariate analysis, the baseline CLASI activity score (CLASI ≥9) correlated with the greatest decrease in CLASI activity score (F = 69.7, p < 0.0001).


CLASI is a reliable indicator to evaluate the efficacy of the drug, and HCQ is an effective treatment for Japanese patients with lupus-related skin disease.


Systemic lupus erythematosus Cutaneous lupus erythematosus Hydroxychloroquine Cutaneous lupus erythematosus disease area and severity index (CLASI) 



A part of this work was supported by grants from the Ministry of Welfare and Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan (T.I.). We appreciate Professor Victoria P. Werth (Philadelphia VAMC and University of Pennsylvania, Department of Dermatology) for reviewing this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The Japanese Hydroxychloroquine Study Group is a volunteer initiative to develop HCQ in Japan and does not have any conflicts of interest. For the preparation of the clinical trial of HCQ, N.Y. and F.F. gave a lecture to Sanofi Aventis KK (lecture fee <US $1,000).


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Copyright information

© Japan College of Rheumatology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naoto Yokogawa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Akiko Tanikawa
    • 2
  • Masayuki Amagai
    • 2
  • Yukihiko Kato
    • 3
  • Yoko Momose
    • 4
  • Satoru Arai
    • 4
  • Hikaru Eto
    • 4
  • Takaharu Ikeda
    • 5
  • Fukumi Furukawa
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Rheumatic DiseasesTokyo Metropolitan Tama Medical CenterFuchuJapan
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyKeio University School of MedicineTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyTokyo Metropolitan Tama Medical CenterTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of DermatologySt. Luke’s International HospitalTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Department of DermatologyWakayama Medical UniversityWakayamaJapan

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