Steroid-sparing effect and toxicity of dapsone treatment in giant cell arteritis: A single-center, retrospective study of 70 patients

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Although a glucocorticoid (GC)-sparing strategy is needed for patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) suffering from refractory disease or serious treatment-related complications, evidence of efficacy in this setting of immunosuppressive drugs and biotherapies is lacking. Herein, we evaluated the GC-sparing effects and tolerability of addition of dapsone (DDS) to prednisone therapy in patients with GCA. We retrospectively assessed data on 18 GCA patients who received DDS as a first-line treatment (DDS-1 group) and 52 patients who received it as a second- or third-line treatment for refractory GCA, with or without excessive GC-related toxicity (DDS-2 group). Of these 70 patients, 63 belonged to an inception cohort of 478 patients, whereas the remaining 7 were referred to our department for resistant GCA. In all, 52 patients were assessable for DDS efficacy. The baseline characteristics of the DDS-1 patients were similar to those of 395 GCA patients (control group) who received prednisone alone. DDS-1 patients had a more sustained decrease in GC dose with a lower mean prednisone dose at 12 months, and they comprised higher proportions who achieved GC withdrawal within the first year, who stopped prednisone treatment, and who recovered from GCA (P < 0.001 for each variable). Patients in the DDS-2 group achieved a mean rate of prednisone reduction of 65% and a prednisone dose reduction of 16.9 ± 13.3 mg/d. The monthly decreases in the prednisone dose were 2.4 and 1.25 mg in DDS-1 and DDS-2 patients, respectively. DDS-induced side effects were recorded in 44 (64%) assessable patients. These side effects led to lowering of the DDS dose by 25 mg/d in 11 (16%) patients and permanent cessation of DDS in 14 patients (20%), due to allergic skin rash in 7, agranulocytosis in 2, icteric hepatitis in 2, and excessive hemolysis in 2 patients. DDS is a potent GC-sparing agent in GCA that should be evaluated in prospective studies. However, DDS use should be restricted to refractory GCA patients due to its toxicity, and close clinical and laboratory monitoring for 3 months is necessary.

    loading  Loading Related Articles