The role of adjuvant therapy in pemphigus: A systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • Background The assumption that adjuvant modalities have added value to oral glucocorticoids in the treatment of pemphigus is intuitively sound but has not been conclusively proven. Objective We sought to compare the efficacy and safety of oral glucocorticoid treatment with or without adjuvants for pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus. Methods We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The primary outcome was remission. Secondary outcomes were disease control, time to disease control, relapse, time to relapse, cumulative glucocorticoid dose, withdrawal because of adverse events, and all-cause death. Trials were pooled irrespective of adjuvant type evaluated. Results Ten trials (559 participants) were included. Adjuvants evaluated were azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange, and infliximab; not all were included in every analysis. Although adjuvants were not beneficial for achieving remission, they were found to collectively decrease the risk of relapse by 29% (relative risk 0.71, 95% confidence interval 0.53-0.95). Limitations Different adjuvants were pooled together. Conclusion Adjuvants have a role in pemphigus treatment, at least in reducing the risk of relapse. Further randomized controlled trials of other promising modalities are warranted.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015