Mycophenolate Mofetil for the Treatment of Chronic Dermatitis: An Open-labelStudy of 16 Patients

April 2010 | Volume 9 | Issue 4 | Original Article | 356 | Copyright © April 2010

J. Mark Jackson MD, Joseph F. Fowler Jr. MD, Jeffrey P. Callen MD, Douglas J. Lorenz MA MSPH

Background: Chronic dermatitis that is refractory to topical therapy poses a difficult treatment problem. Many patients are corticosteroid dependent. Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is a systemic B- and T-cell inhibitor that has some effect on delayed-type hypersensitivity.

Design, Setting, Interventions: In this open-label study conducted in a university-affiliated private practice setting, 16 patients with chronic and refractory eczema of three months duration or longer were enrolled consecutively into one of three cohorts based on dosage of MMF: five at 1 g /d, six at 1.5 g/d and five at 2.0 g/d. Patients in each cohort were allowed to increase dosage to a maximum of 3 g/d during the study. The authors evaluated the improvement of eczema and the presence of side effects over a 34-week period. Trends in patient and investigator global assessments were analyzed with the fitting of models using generalized estimating equations (GEE).

Main Outcome Measures: To determine the efficacy and safety of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) in the treatment of chronic and refractory eczema.

Results: Twelve of 16 patients improved by patient global assessment and 14 of 16 patients improved by investigator global assessment during the study. Three patients cleared completely and six patients were almost clear. MMF was well-tolerated. One patient experienced a serious adverse event (pancreatic cancer), early in the study, while on therapy. This patient had dermatitis that improved, but pruritus that was out of proportion to exam and a further workup to evaluate newly elevated liver functions after study initiation revealed the pancreatic cancer.

Conclusion: Mycophenolate mofetil is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for some patients with chronic dermatitis.