Infliximab Treatment for Ocular and Extraocular Manifestations of Behçet's Disease
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To assess the efficacy and safety of infliximab in the treatment of sight-threatening uveitis and extraocular manifestations in patients with Behçet's disease.
Twelve patients with Behçet's disease and uveitis were treated with infliximab after unsuccessful therapy with other immunosuppressive drugs. The main outcome measures were as follows: the number of uveitis relapses, the number of Behçet's disease-related extraocular lesions, and the amount of corticosteroids administered during the treatment as well as during an equal prior period of time while the patients were on other immunosuppressive agents. Visual acuity was recorded at the beginning of infliximab therapy and at the end of follow-up, and was defined as stable if it did not change from baseline, increased if it showed at least one line of improvement from baseline, and decreased if it showed at least a one line decrease from baseline.
During an average follow-up of 16.67 ± 7.63 months (median, 15 months), 11 patients (91.6%) showed a reduction in the number of ocular relapses (relapse/month, from 0.35 ± 0.17 to 0.12 ± 0.17, P < 0.001). All of the patients (n = 11) who were taking corticosteroids before infliximab were able to reduce the amount of corticosteroids taken daily during infliximab treatment (from 24.33 ± 10.84 mg/prednisone per day to 8.97 ± 6.81 mg/prednisone per day, P < 0.001), and all presented with a reduced onset of extraocular manifestations of Behçet's disease (mean total number, from 2.83 ± 3.61 to 1.51 ± 2.35, P = 0.039). One patient, who had to stop treatment 2 months after starting because of the onset of pulmonary tuberculosis, showed the same number of relapses during infliximab treatment but was able to reduce the mean daily corticosteroid dose. Visual acuity increased by one or more lines in three eyes (12.5%) and remained unchanged in 87.5% of the eyes. Infliximab-related side effects appeared in four patients (33.3%).
Infliximab was effective in the treatment of uveitis in these Behçet's disease patients, significantly reducing the number of ocular relapses and making possible a significant reduction in the daily dose of corticosteroids administered. Extraocular manifestations of Behçet's disease were also controlled by infliximab. Nevertheless, side effects were not uncommon, and an extensive study of systemic conditions before infliximab administration had to be carried out to exclude systemic infection, particularly prior tuberculosis. Jpn J Ophthalmol 2007;51:191–196 © Japanese Ophthalmological Society 2007
Key wordsanti-TNFα therapy Behçet's disease infliximab uveitis
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