Hydroxychloroquine a useful treatment for morphoea

27 May 2019

Treatment of morphoea with hydroxychloroquine results in a high response rate among patients, with a low rate of adverse effects, according to a recent study. However, prospective studies are warranted to establish its true efficacy.

A total of 84 patients (median age at diagnosis, 29.5 years) were included. Of these, 65 (77.4 percent) were female, 36 (42.9 percent) had a complete response to hydroxychloroquine, 32 (38.1 percent) had a partial response >50 percent, 10 (11.9 percent) had a partial response 50 percent, and six (7.1 percent) had no response. The median times to initial and maximal responses were 4 and 12 months, respectively.

In addition, there were 10 patients (11.9 percent) who had adverse effects from the study drug, the most common of which was nausea (n=6).

A retrospective study was conducted to assess the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine treatment of morphoea. The authors analysed patients who had morphoea and were treated with hydroxychloroquine monotherapy for at least 6 months from 1996 through 2013. They also examined the median times to initial and maximal responses.

This study, however, was limited by its retrospective design, according to the authors.

A rare fibrosing disorder of the skin and underlying tissues, morphoea is characterized by skin thickening and hardening due to excessive collagen deposition. According to Pope and Laxer, the “significance of the disease depends on the extent of the lesions, potential for functional disability or cosmetic disfigurement, and presence or absence of extracutaneous manifestations.” [Pediatr Clin North Am 2014;61:309-319]

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