Successful Treatment of Pemphigus Vulgaris With Etanercept in Four Patients

October 2009 | Volume 8 | Issue 10 | Case Reports | 940 | Copyright © October 2009

Anjali Shetty BS, Catherine B. Marcum MD, L. Frank Glass MD, John D. Carter MD

Pemphigus vulgaris is an autoimmune disease characterized by intraepidermal blister formation. The treatment of pemphigus vulgaris is generally regarded as difficult. Corticosteroids, the drug class of first choice, often must be combined with steroid-sparing agents to prevent hazardous, long-term side effects. The authors describe four patients with severe pemphigus vulgaris who were treated with the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonist, etanercept, twice weekly. In all four cases, the addition of etanercept produced dramatic clinical improvement and facilitated the reduction of corticosteroids necessary to maintain symptom control. Thus, etanercept may be an effective therapeutic agent for pemphigus vulgaris and should be considered as an alternative treatment option for patients presenting with recalcitrant disease.