A systematic review and meta-analysis of second-line immunosuppressants for autoimmune hepatitis treatment

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Abstract

Introduction

The gold-standard treatment for autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a prednisone/azathioprine combination. However, subgroups of patients may be unresponsive to this treatment. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of second-line immunosuppressive therapies for AIH through a systematic review and meta-analysis in adult patients.

Patients and methods

The systematic review was registered at the PROSPERO platform under number 42015019831. Databases MEDLINE (PubMed), Lilacs, Cochrane, and Scielo were searched. The keywords used were ‘Hepatitis, Autoimmune’ and descriptors terms (MeSH and DeCS). These terms were linked with each immunosuppressant of interest.

Results

A total of 1532 studies were identified. Of these, 1492 were excluded on the basis of title and abstract reading. Among the 40 studies retrieved for detailed full-text analysis, a total of 15 fulfilled the inclusion criteria for the analysis. The most studied second-line immunosuppressive was mycophenolate mofetil (MM). The mean reduction of aminotransferases was observed in 94.3% with tacrolimus/prednisone, 91.3% for cyclosporine/prednisone, 85.5% for budesonide, and 78.7% MM/prednisone. For MM/prednisone, the mean rate of histological remission was 88.6%, liver transplantation was indicated in 11.4%, and the mortality rate was 7.2%. Limitations were also present, such as the lack of randomized-controlled trials and prospective studies, the small number of patients, and the heterogeneity between remission criteria.

Conclusion

This is the first systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the second-line imunossupressant therapy for AIH. The most studied second-line immunosuppressive is the MM, with a reasonable histological remission. The use of combined tacrolimus/prednisone was the most effective for the normalization of aminotransferases.

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