Syphilitic Interstitial Keratitis: Treatment With Immunosuppressive Drug Combination Therapy

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Abstract

Objective:

The following is a case presentation of congenital syphilitic keratitis in a boy 6 years of age who was successfully treated with an immunosuppressive drug combination therapy.

Methods:

Congenital syphilitic keratitis was diagnosed by clinical findings and laboratory tests. The child was unresponsive to traditional treatment; thus, systemic immunosuppressive therapy, which consisted of oral cyclosporine 4 mg/kg/d, 6 days per week, and oral low-dose steroids (fluocortolone 0.8 mg/kg a week, given every other day), was initiated.

Results:

Corneal disease showed great improvement with this therapy, with progressive healing of lesions in the first month of treatment and no signs of toxic renal, hepatic, or growth abnormalities. Recurrences of uveitis have not occurred, and corneal interstitial keratitis episodes have been limited to 3 in an 8-year period. After 6 months with no recurrences, a tapering off of the systemic therapy was initiated, and the child is still asymptomatic and without flare-ups.

Conclusions:

Congenital syphilitic keratitis is usually treated with topical steroids and cycloplegic drugs, which not only can be ineffective but can also lead to complications such as cataract and glaucoma. In the present case report, a pediatric patient affected by syphilitic interstitial keratitis was treated successfully with an immunosuppressive drug combination therapy.

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