Hydroxychloroquine versus tacrolimus for the treatment of persistently active systemic lupus erythematosus

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OBJECTIVES: We aimed to reveal the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) compared with tacrolimus (TAC), an immunosuppressive agent, in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with persistent activity on standard treatment. METHODS: We retrospectively compared the efficacy and safety of the treatment between 18 patients receiving HCQ and 27 patients receiving TAC. None of the patients were in the lupus low disease activity state (LLDAS) at the beginning of this study. The efficacy end points were the cumulative incidence of LLDAS attainment without additional immunosuppressive agents, drug continuation rate, and treatment failure-free survival. The safety end point was the frequency of adverse events. RESULTS: Eight (44.4%) patients in the HCQ group and 10 (37.0%) patients in the TAC group achieved LLDAS during the follow-up period; thus, the cumulative incidences of LLDAS attainment of the two treatments were nearly identical. The drug continuation and treatment failure-free survival rates were also not different between the two groups. The frequency of adverse events showed no clear differences between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy and safety of an add-on treatment with HCQ are similar to those with TAC. Patients with persistently active SLE can benefit from HCQ in efforts to achieve at least low disease activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-350
Number of pages6
JournalModern Rheumatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 28 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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