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Treatment of bullous pemphigoid.

Author(s): Fontaine J, Joly P, Roujeau JC

Affiliation(s): Department of Dermatology of Hopital Henri Mondor, Universite Paris XII, Creteil, France.

Publication date & source: 2003-02, J Dermatol., 30(2):83-90.

Publication type: Review

Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is the most frequent auto-immune blistering skin disease. Up to recently, it was treated with oral corticosteroids. High dose steroids are poorly tolerated in the elderly and probably contributed to the high mortality rates observed in several cohorts. For years, efforts have been devoted to looking for steroid sparing agents including immunosuppressive drugs, plasma exchanges, intravenous immunoglobulins, tetracycline. Many seemed useful in open series but proved ineffective or marginally effective when tested in randomized controlled trials. An important breakthrough was the demonstration by a large randomized trial that a "super-potent" topical corticosteroid (clobetasol propionate) was not only associated with a significant decrease in severe complications and mortality of BP patients but was also more effective than oral prednisone. New strategies for BP should include topical clobetasol propionate as the first line treatment and consider adjuvant therapy only in the very rare cases that are either resistant to or intolerant of this treatment.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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