Immunosuppressants and prednisone in pemphigus vulgaris: therapeutic results obtained in 63 patients between 1961 and 1975.
Evaluation of the treatment in 63 patients with pemphigus vulgaris showed that six patients (9.5%) died of the consequences of high-dosage prednisone treatment, while 24 patients (38.1%) were free of lesions and not receiving treatment. Immunosuppressants (methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, and azathioprine) are of value in patients with severe pemphigus vulgaris since they often reduce the maintenance dose of prednisone required after high-dosage prednisone treatment. Immunosuppressants are of even greater value in patients in the early, stable stage of pemphigus vulgaris. Of 16 such patients initially treated with a combination of an immunosuppressant and maintenance doses of prednisone not exceeding 40 mg on alternate days, 13 at no time required treatment with higher doses of prednisone. The good results obtained with this method emphasize the importance of diagnosing and treating pemphigus vulgaris in its early stage.