Empiric Therapy of Autoimmune Hepatitis With Mycophenolate Mofetil: Comparison With Conventional Treatment for Refractory Disease

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Abstract

Goal:

To assess the outcomes of empiric therapy with mycophenolate mofetil in patients with autoimmune hepatitis.

Background:

Mycophenolate mofetil is a purine antagonist that selectively inhibits immunocyte proliferation, and its empiric use in autoimmune hepatitis has been stimulated by small clinical experiences.

Study:

Eight patients received mycophenolate mofetil (0.5-3 g daily) for 19 ± 7 months as frontline therapy or after adverse responses to conventional corticosteroid treatment. Seventeen patients who had been treated with high-dose corticosteroid regimens after treatment failure constituted a historical comparison population.

Results:

Five of the 8 patients receiving mycophenolate mofetil and all 17 patients who had been treated with the conventional corticosteroid regimens for treatment failure responded to therapy. The frequency of response (62% vs. 100%, P = 0.02) was lower during longer intervals of treatment (19 ± 7 months vs. 6 ± 1 months, P = 0.02) in the patients receiving mycophenolate mofetil. None receiving mycophenolate mofetil resolved their laboratory abnormalities, whereas 6 patients in the comparison group improved to normal tests (0% vs. 35%, P = 0.1). Histologic resolution did not occur in 4 patients sampled during treatment, and successive specimens in 2 patients showed progressive fibrosis. Corticosteroids could not be withdrawn in the patients treated with mycophenolate mofetil, whereas discontinuation was possible in 7 patients in the comparison group (0% vs. 41%, P = 0.06).

Conclusions:

Mycophenolate mofetil did not induce laboratory resolution, prevent progressive fibrosis, or allow corticosteroid withdrawal. Clinical trials are needed to evaluate its role and target population.

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