Thalidomide in the treatment of the cutaneous manifestations of lupus erythematosus: experience in sixteen consecutive patients

R. Stevens
1997 British Journal of Rheumatology  
We review the efficacy, tolerability and safety of low-dose thalidomide in the treatment of refractory disfiguring rash in 16 patients with cutaneous manifestations of lupus. Rashes, which included discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), subacute cutaneous lupus (SCLE), photosensitive malar rash and non-specific chronic erythema, were diagnosed on clinical grounds, supported by skin biopsy in 11/16 patients. Using starting doses of 50-100 mg/day, 7/16 (44%) patients gained complete or near-complete
more » ... emission of skin disease and 6/16 (37%) partial remission. Three out of 16 patients failed to respond. Maximum benefit was achieved within 16 weeks in all patients. Doses of 25-50 mg/day were effective in maintaining response. Rapid relapse occurred in 6/8 (75%) patients following drug withdrawal, but the response to thalidomide in those requiring repeat courses appeared to be maintained. There was no detectable improvement in systemic disease. One patient developed symptoms of mild peripheral neuropathy which resolved on drug withdrawal. Our experience suggests that thalidomide is effective in the treatment of severe skin manifestations of lupus refractory to other treatment and can be used safely in specialist rheumatological practice.
doi:10.1093/rheumatology/36.3.353 fatcat:74kzbbjv7jc7djcaoalbudvow4