Most Read Articles
Angeline Woon, 01 Jan 2014

The criteria for systemic sclerosis have been updated, and the 2013 disease classification is an improvement on the 1980 version.

15 Jun 2017
Telomeres appear to be shorter in patients with gout than in healthy individuals, indicating increased cellular senescence, according to a study. In gout, telomere shortening is associated with flare frequency and cardiovascular (CV) disease.
Kavitha G. Shekar, 14 Jun 2016
The incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) was found to be higher in juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients (JIA) compared with the general population, said German researchers at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2016) held in London, UK.
27 Mar 2017
Obese individuals suffering from knee pain maintain more knee flexion during gait and use a hyper-extended knee posture while standing, a new study shows.

Mycophenolate sodium superior to azathioprine in lupus patients

Jairia Dela Cruz
09 May 2017

Enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium (EC-MPS) appears to be more effective than azathioprine (AZA) at inducing long-term clinical remission and preventing relapse in patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to the results of an open-label trial.

A total of 240 patients were randomized to receive either EC-MPS at 1,440 mg/day (n=120; mean age 42.1 years; 90 percent female) or AZA at 2/mg/kg/day (n=120; mean age 40.9 years; 92.5 percent female) in addition to prednisone and/or antimalarials. Treatment lasted 24 months.

The primary endpoint of the proportion of patients achieving clinical remission (SLE Disease Activity Index 2000=0) was found to be greater in the EC-MPS than in the AZA arm at months 3 (32.5 vs 19.2 percent; treatment difference, 13.3; 95 percent CI, 2.3 to 24; p=0.034) and 24 (71.2 vs 48.3 percent; treatment difference, 22.9; 10.4 to 34.4; p<0.001). [Ann Rheum Dis 2017;doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210882]

EC-MPS also showed superiority in terms of relapse prevention. The occurrence of British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) flares was less frequent when compared to AZA (BILAG A/B [moderate-to-severe]: 50 vs 71.7 percent; p=0.001; BILAG B [moderate]: 8.3 vs 21.67 percent; p=0.004).

Researchers said EC-MPS reduced the risk of developing any SLE flare and severe flare by 45 and 65 percent, respectively.

Moreover, time to clinical remission (hazard ratio [HR], 1.43; 1.07 to 1.91; p=0.017) and time to first BILAG A/B flare (HR, 1.81; 1.3 to 2.56; p=0.0004) and BILAG A flare (HR, 2.84; 1.37 to 5.89; p=0.003) were better with EC-MPS vs AZA.

In terms of safety, “[t]he occurrence of AEs [59.2 vs 57.5 percent with EC-MPS and AZA, respectively] and serious events [serious infections, 4.2 vs 5.8 percent] was similar in both groups except for gastrointestinal side effects, including liver toxicity, and haematological events, which were more common in the AZA group, consistent with previous findings,” researchers noted. [Rheumatology 2010;49:723–32; N Engl J Med 2011;365:1886–95; Ann Rheum Dis 2010;69:2083–9]

A chronic multisystem autoimmune disease, SLE is characterised by heterogeneous clinical manifestations and a relapsing–remitting course. The present data indicate that EC-MPS is superior to AZA, which is one of the most frequently used immunosuppressants, in achieving long-term clinical remission and in preventing relapse in patients with active nonrenal lupus disease, they said. [N Engl J Med 2008;358:929–39]

“Despite AZA being shown to be less effective, its safety profile during pregnancy is a significant advantage over EC-MPS. Mycophenolate mofetil [MMF] and EC-MPS are absolutely contraindicated,” they continued.

“MMF is likely to be a human teratogen based on the reported malformations observed among exposed offspring (microtia, orofacial clefts, external auditory canal atresia and cardiovascular malformations). When long-term immunosuppression is required in young women planning pregnancy this issue needs to be considered,” they said. [Am J Med Genet A 2009;149A:1241–8]

Researchers cited several study limitations, such as the inclusion of mainly Caucasian patients rather than a large international multiethnic population, the open-label design, and the failure to routinely perform serum measures of the active metabolites of AZA or EC-MPS.

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Most Read Articles
Angeline Woon, 01 Jan 2014

The criteria for systemic sclerosis have been updated, and the 2013 disease classification is an improvement on the 1980 version.

15 Jun 2017
Telomeres appear to be shorter in patients with gout than in healthy individuals, indicating increased cellular senescence, according to a study. In gout, telomere shortening is associated with flare frequency and cardiovascular (CV) disease.
Kavitha G. Shekar, 14 Jun 2016
The incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) was found to be higher in juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients (JIA) compared with the general population, said German researchers at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2016) held in London, UK.
27 Mar 2017
Obese individuals suffering from knee pain maintain more knee flexion during gait and use a hyper-extended knee posture while standing, a new study shows.