Monthly Archives: August 2000

By Jean-Claude Bystryn, M.D.
Professor of Dermatology
Director of Immunofluorescence Laboratory
The Ronald O. Perelman
Department of Dermatology
New York University Medical Center

Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) can enter into remissions in which all manifestations of the disease disappear and all therapy can be discontinued. How often, and when this occurs is unclear. Review of all major studies of PV conducted during the past four decades describes remissions as occurring in less than one-third of patients.1 However, a problem with these studies is that the incidence of remissions is usually provided at only a single time point. Thus, it is unclear how long it takes for remissions to appear, how long they last and what happens when therapy is discontinued. Further complicating interpretations of the results is that the meaning of remission is often unclear. The criteria used by different investigators to define this event differ and/or are not provided. The practical outcome of this incomplete information is uncertainty about the management of pemphigus. It is unclear whether treatment simply suppresses the manifestations of the disease and must be continued permanently, or whether complete and durable remissions can be induced that permit therapy to be safely discontinued.