High-dose oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone or prednisolone, are the main treatment for pemphigus. These are anti-inflammatory medicines that suppress the immune system. High doses are often required to bring pemphigus under control. To keep the levels of corticosteroid use to a minimum, immunosuppressive drugs are often added to a patient’s treatment. These drugs stop or slow down the immune system’s response to what it sees as an attack on the body. They include:
Once controlled, the steroid is reduced slowly to minimize side effects. Some patients then go into remission; however, many patients need a small maintenance dose to keep the disease under control.
- Pemphigus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). June 2015; http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Pemphigus/default.asp. Accessed 9/1/2015.
- Pemphigus. International Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Foundation. 2010; http://www.pemphigus.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=364&Itemid=100073. Accessed 3/3/2010.
- ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Pemphigus. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.