Randomized controlled trial of adjuvant oral dexamethasone pulse therapy in pemphigus vulgaris: PEMPULS trial

Leon F. Mentink, Maria W. Mackenzie, Gábor G. Tóth, Marianne Laseur, Frank P G Lambert, Nic J G M Veeger, Giuseppe Cianchini, Miloš D. Pavlović, Marcel F. Jonkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the therapeutic effect of adjuvant dexamethasone pulse therapy when given in addition to conventional treatment of pemphigus vulgaris. Design: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Setting: International European, multicenter outpatient and inpatient study. Patients: Of the 20 enrolled patients, 11 were randomized to the dexamethasone pulse (DP) group and 9 to the placebo pulse (PP) group. Interventions: Oral dexamethasone in 300-mg pulses or PPs 3 days per month. During the intervention, the DP and PP groups received conventional treatment with prednisolone, 80 mg/d, which was tapered across 19 weeks, and azathioprine sodium, 3 mg/kg per day, until the end of the study. Monthly pulses were continued until prednisolone treatment was tapered to 0 mg. Main Outcome Measures: Number of patients in remission, time to and duration of remission, cumulative prednisolone dose, and occurrence of adverse events during 1 year of follow-up. Results: Eight of the 11 DP-treated patients and all 9 PP-treated patients achieved remission. Mean time to remission was 173 days with DP and 176 days with PP. The mean duration of remission within the first year was 151 days for DP and 141 days for PP. Mean cumulative prednisolone dose was 5300 mg for DP and 4882 mg for PP. Weight gain (>5% of baseline) occurred in 8 DP-treated patients compared with 1 PP-treated patient (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-576
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Dermatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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