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Randomized Trial of IVIg With or Without Cyclophosphamide in Pemphigus

Information source: FDA Office of Orphan Products Development
Information obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov on October 04, 2010
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Pemphigus Vulgaris

Intervention: intravenous immunoglobulin (Drug); cyclophosphamide (Drug)

Phase: Phase 2

Status: Recruiting

Sponsored by: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Jean-Claude Bystryn, M.D., Principal Investigator, Affiliation: NYU MEDICAL CENTER

Overall contact:
Jean-Claude Bystryn, M.D., Phone: 212-263-7333, Email: bystryn@nyu.edu


The purpose of this study is to compare two standard treatments for pemphigus to determine which more effectively improves the clinical manifestations of the disease and decreases serum level of the autoantibodies which cause the disease.

Clinical Details

Official title: Phase 2 Randomized Trial of IVIg With or Without Cyclophosphamide in Pemphigus

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome:

clinical outcome: extent and severity of disease

serum levels of pemphigus antibodies

Secondary outcome:

toxicity of treatment: measured in renal toxicity, myelosuppression or hepatic toxicity

ability to be weaned off steroids

Detailed description: Pemphigus is a serious and life-threatening autoimmune disease characterized by blisters and erosions that occur on the skin and oral mucosa. It is caused by autoantibodies that attack desmoglein 1 and 3, adhesion molecules that are present on the surface of the cells (keratinocytes) that make up the superficial layer of the skin. As a result these cells stop sticking together, and come apart resulting in the formation of blisters on the skin.

Pemphigus is usually treated with systemic corticosteroids often given together with immunosuppressive drugs such as Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Imuran (azathioprine), methotrexate, CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) and others. However, the prolonged and high doses of systemic steroids and other immunosuppressive agents used to treat the disease are associated with significant toxicity.

A new treatment which is now being used to treat pemphigus patients that are unresponsive, or that have developed complications to conventional treatment is IVIg. IVIg consists of one of the protein fractions present in blood. It is the fraction that contains antibodies and is called immunoglobulin (Ig). It is purified from blood that has been collected from thousands of donors and treated to remove potential infectious agents. It is administered intravenously (IV) over several hours, several days in succession. The cycles are usually repeated every 2 to 4 weeks until the disease is controlled.

IVIg treatment is currently given in either of two ways, either by itself or with an immunosuppressive drug such as cyclophosphamide or azathioprine. It is unknown which of these two procedures is better. This trial is being conducted to determine which treatment is more effective.

The trial is being conducted in patients with pemphigus that are not responding to, or have developed complications from, standard treatment. All patients will be treated with IVIg administered using a standard protocol. The IVIg will be given daily for 4 days, and this cycle will be repeated every other week for a total of 4 cycles. In addition, half of the patients will be selected by chance to also be treated with cyclophosphamide, an immunosuppressive drug often used to treat other autoimmune diseases including pemphigus. The cyclophosphamide is a pill that is taken 3 times a day. A total of 12 patients will be treated in each arm of the trial. The trial is being conducted by Dr. Jean-Claude Bystryn at the New York University Medical Center.

The extent and activity of the disease, as well as the blood levels of pemphigus antibodies, will be measured at baseline prior to entry into the trial and periodically during the trial.

The goal of the study is to determine whether there is a difference between the two treatments in the rate at which: 1) the activity and extent of the disease improves, 2) the dose of corticosteroids required to treat the disease can be reduced, and 3) the blood level of pemphigus antibodies decrease.

This trial will test this hypothesis by examining whether IVIg treatment given with cyclophosphamide results in a more rapid decline in circulating pemphigus antibodies than when given alone.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Lesions consistent with pemphigus foliaceus or vulgaris

- Diagnosis confirmed by histology and IIF ≥ 40 within past month

- On ≥20mg/day of prednisone per day for two weeks or ≥ 80mg/day for one week

- Women of childbearing potential negative HCG obtained two weeks prior to first IVIg

- Agrees to two acceptable forms of contraception* if randomized to cyclophosphamide


- IUD (except progesterone T), Combination oral contraceptives, transdermal patch,

vaginal ring, hormonal injectables or implantables, male latex condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, or vaginal sponge (contains spermicide)

- Normal organ function confirmed by CBC, UA, LFTs and Ig levels within defined

inclusion criteria

- Responds yes to at least one of the criteria below:

- Persistence of clinical manifestations of disease despite steroid treatment

- Flare in disease activity after an attempt at steroid tapering

- Failure of established lesions to heal

- Rapidly progressive disease.

- Conventional therapy is relatively contraindicated i. e. side effects, co-morbid


- systemic infections, peptic ulcers, osteoporosis, hypertension, cataracts or others

Exclusion Criteria:

- Use of IVIg within past 3 weeks or the use of a cytotoxic drug within the past 2


- Participating in another clinical trial at the time of screening and enrollment

- Medical condition that precludes use of IVIg or cyclophosphamide (i. e. pregnancy

breastfeeding, underlying chronic infection, concurrent opportunistic infection, sepsis or volume depletion

- Renal insufficiency ( GFR <90, proteinuria (>1+, x 2), creatinine >1. 8 or increased

WBC or RBCs which cannot be explained by cystitis.)

- Known hypersensitivity to study drugs, IVIg or cyclophosphamide

Locations and Contacts

Jean-Claude Bystryn, M.D., Phone: 212-263-7333, Email: bystryn@nyu.edu

NYU Medical Center, New York, New York 10016, United States; Recruiting
Additional Information

Related publications:

Green MG, Bystryn JC. Effect of intravenous immunoglobulin therapy on serum levels of IgG1 and IgG4 antidesmoglein 1 and antidesmoglein 3 antibodies in pemphigus vulgaris. Arch Dermatol. 2008 Dec;144(12):1621-4.

Czernik A, Bystryn JC. Kinetics of response to conventional treatment in patients with pemphigus vulgaris. Arch Dermatol. 2008 May;144(5):682-3. No abstract available.

Czernik A, Beutner EH, Bystryn JC. Intravenous immunoglobulin selectively decreases circulating autoantibodies in pemphigus. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 May;58(5):796-801.

Czernik A, Bystryn JC. Improvement of intravenous immunoglobulin therapy for bullous pemphigoid by adding immunosuppressive agents: marked improvement in depletion of circulating autoantibodies. Arch Dermatol. 2008 May;144(5):658-61.

Starting date: April 2007
Last updated: December 17, 2009

Page last updated: October 04, 2010

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