Interferon alfa-2b therapy in mucocutaneous manifestations of Behcet’s disease
Background: Viral infections such as Epstein-Barr virus and Herpes simplex virus may play a role in the pathogenesis of Behçet’s disease (BD). Interferons (INF) are natural defense mechanisms against viruses and inhibit their activities by enhancing major histocompatibility complex class I and cytokine expression. This study evaluated the efficacy of INF-α-2b on mucocutaneous lesions of BD.
Methods: In this open label clinical trial، 12 patients were chosen sequentially from cases referred to the Rheumatology Unit of the Ghaem Hospital of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences، Mashhad، Iran، with inclusion criteria of active BD without central nervous system or ophthalmic involvement. They received subcutaneous injections of 3 million units of IFN-α-2b three times a week for six months. The numbers and the sizes of lesions were evaluated monthly with the objective and subjective assessments of disease activity.
Results: The average dose of interferon prescribed was 2.71 million units during six months. The numbers and sizes of oral، genital and cutaneous lesions decreased significantly with less pain and longer duration of remission. The most common side effects were flu-like symptoms and bone pain reported by 8 patients with temporary impotence in two males and local reactions as erythema and edema of the upper extremities in two patients.
Conclusion: INF-α-2b seems to be an effective therapy for mucocutaneous lesions of Behçet’s disease.