Interferon-α treatment of Behcet's disease

J. Desmond O'Duffy, Kenneth Calamia, Stanley Cohen, Jorg J. Goronzy, David Herman, Joseph Jorizzo, Cornelia Weyand, Eric Matteson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine if interferon-α (IFN-α) is effective in Behcet's disease (BD). Methods. Ten patients having active BD were entered into a 6 month open label trial of IFN-α therapy given by self-administered dose of 3 million units subcutaneously daily. Provision was made for downward or upward dosing depending on predetermined responses. Four study centers followed the same protocol. Patients having ocular or neurologic inflammation at onset of the study were excluded. Results. Seven patients completed the trial, while 3 were removed at 3 and 4 months for side effects or lack of efficacy. There was a substantial reduction in the number of oral and genital ulcers, cutaneous lesions, and articular signs and symptoms by the end of the study. Pain scores, global assessments, and prednisone dose also declined. The IFN-α dose at end of study averaged 1.5 million units. Significant side effects, besides the anticipated flu-like syndrome experienced by all the patients, included single instances of seizure, psychosis, psoriasis, and hyperthyroidism. Conclusion. The results suggest that IFN-α is effective therapy for some manifestations of Behcet's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1938-1944
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • Behcet's disease
  • Interferon-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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