To determine the relapse rate and outcome in patients with Wegener’s granulomatosis treated with daily cyclophosphamide and glucocorticoids to induce remission followed by methotrexate for remission maintenance.
We performed an open-label prospective study in 42 patients with active Wegener’s granulomatosis. All patients were treated with a standardized regimen. Outcomes were assessed using predetermined definitions based on clinical characteristics and pathologic, laboratory, and radiographic findings.
All patients achieved disease remission. The median time to remission was 3 months, and the median time to discontinuation of glucocorticoids was 8 months. During a median of 32 months of follow-up, 1 patient died (of a myocardial infarction not related to vasculitis). Two patients (5%) had to withdraw from the study because of medication toxicity. Twenty-two patients (52%) relapsed, with glomerulonephritis occurring in 16 patients. Of these 16 patients, 4 had an increase of >0.2 mg/dL in serum creatinine level. All 4 patients returned to their prior level of renal function with treatment. None of the 22 relapses met the criteria for severe disease.
The use of cyclophosphamide and glucocorticoids for induction and methotrexate for maintaining remission is an effective and well-tolerated therapeutic approach in patients with active Wegener’s granulomatosis.
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Accepted: December 10, 2002
Received in revised form: December 10, 2002
Received: July 10, 2002
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