Autoimmune mucocutaneous blistering diseases (AMBD) are a group of potentially fatal diseases that affect the skin and mucous membranes. AMBD have different target antigens as well as variable clinical presentation, course, and prognosis. The mainstay of conventional immunosuppressive therapy (CIST) for AMBD is long-term high-dose systemic corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents. Such therapy has proven effective in many patients; however, in some patients, the disease continues to progress with significant sequelae such as blindness, loss of voice, anal, and vaginal stenosis which causes poor quality of life. Furthermore, the CIST may have some serious side effects including opportunistic infections which may cause death. Immune globulin intravenous (IGIV) therapy has been reportedly used in the management of patients with AMBD refractory to CIST. IGIV has shown to be more clinically beneficial than CIST by bringing about long-term clinical remission and less recurrence. The high cost of the IGIV is of concern to patients, physicians, and insurance companies. In this report, we compare the cost of IGIV to that of CIST in treating a cohort of 15 mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP), 10 ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP), 15 bullous pemphigoid (BP), and 32 pemphigus vulgaris (PV) patients. In each cohort of patients, CIST had significant side effects, many of which were hazardous and required prolonged and frequent hospitalizations. Some of these side effects were severe enough to require discontinuation of the treatment. We consider the total cost of CIST to be the actual cost of the drug, plus the cost of management of the side effects produced by CIST. In the same patient cohort, no significant side effects to IGIV were observed. None of the IGIV treated patients required physician visits, laboratory tests, or hospitalizations specifically related to IGIV therapy. Hence, the total cost of the IGIV therapy is the actual cost of the IGIV only. The mean total cost of treatment of IGIV therapy is statistically significantly less than that of CIST during the entire course of the disease and on an annual basis. In conclusion, IGIV therapy is a safe, clinically beneficial, and a cost effective alternative treatment in patients with AMBD, non-responsive to CIST.
- Autoimmune mucocutaneous blistering diseases
- Conventional immunosuppressive therapy
- Cost of side-effects
- Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy
- Total cost of care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy