|My local sun-bathing blackbird.|
I saw a new case study recently which suggested a variant on treatment. In their paper,
IFN beta 1a as Glucocorticoids-Sparing Therapy in a Patient with CLIPPERS, Dr Rico and colleagues, discuss a CLIPPERS patient who suffered approximately one relapse a year when tapering steroid treatment was used. The initial high-dose treatment gave (incomplete) improvement but once the lower dose treatment ended, the symptoms returned. This patient was first seen in 1996, well before CLIPPERS had been defined as an entity in the medical literature. The doctors suspected an auto-immune disease but had ruled out Multiple Sclerosis (MS) so they decided to try an alternative imuuno-suppressant therapy, namely interferon beta 1a. I don't know anything about this treatment beyond the fact that it has been used to treat MS. The patient subsequently only suffered one relapse every 4 or 5 years and relapses did not permanently worsen his condition.
However, the patient was also maintained on a corticosteroid dose equivalent to 25mg Prednisolone every 2 days which makes the interpretation of his improvement less clear. In addition, the authors report that when this corticosteroid was withdrawn a new relapse followed. So it is not clear to me how these two parts of the treatment are working and whether both are required or whether it is the continual low-dose steroid which is important. The authors also repeat an assertion I have read elsewhere, namely that "... except for methotrexate and possibly rituximab, no drug has been able to have sustained control of the disease without combined oral glucocorticoids ...". Maybe I need to put my hand up, as I have been stable on Azathioprine for 4 years after steroids were tapered to zero. Of course, technically I am an IPPER not necessarily a CLIPPER (see previous post) so may be atypical, and there is no guarantee I will stay this way (especially with my currently meandering white blood cell count and treatment changes). Unfortunately, treatment response is just one more part of the CLIPPERS story where there is still a lot of variability and uncertainty.
Read other articles in this series at Living With CLIPPERS.
Living With CLIPPERS by Bill Crum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.