Archives of dermatology

Lupus erythematosus tumidus: response to antimalarial treatment in 36 patients with emphasis on smoking.

PMID 19289751


To determine the efficacy of antimalarial drug use in patients with lupus erythematosus tumidus. Retrospective single-center study. Dermatologic clinic at a university hospital. Thirty-six patients with multifocal lupus erythematosus tumidus. Intervention Treatment with either chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine sulfate. Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index score. Treatment with antimalarial drugs resulted in a significant reduction in the Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index score, from 4 (range, 2-8) at baseline to 1 (range, 0-6) after 3 months of therapy (P < .001). Twenty-two patients (61%) exhibited complete or almost complete clearance of skin lesions, consistent with a clinical score of 0 or 1. No difference in efficacy was noted between the chloroquine-treated group and the hydroxychloroquine-treated group (P = .40). Adverse effects (nausea, dizziness, and headache) occurred only in patients treated with chloroquine. Twenty-eight patients (78%) were smokers, and smokers had a significantly higher mean (SD) clinical score than nonsmokers (5.1 [1.8] vs 3.3 [1.6]; P = .03). Moreover, smokers had a significantly lower reduction in clinical score with antimalarial treatment compared with nonsmokers (r = 0.30; P = .03; 95% confidence interval, -0.05 to 0.57). Eighty-eight percent of nonsmokers (7 of 8 patients) but only 57% of smokers (16 of 28 patients) had a clinical score of 1 or 0 after 3 months of treatment with antimalarial drugs. These retrospective study findings demonstrate that antimalarial treatment is highly effective in multifocal lupus erythematosus tumidus. Lower incidence of adverse effects and equal efficacy might favor the use of hydroxychloroquine. Patients who smoke should be encouraged to join smoking cessation programs because they will respond better to antimalarial treatment.

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Chloroquine phosphate, Pharmaceutical Secondary Standard; Certified Reference Material
C18H26ClN3 · 2H3PO4