Connective tissue diseases are a heterogeneous group of autoimmune disorders affecting not only skin, but also various organs and systems. First-line treatment of connective tissue diseases is systemic steroids as monotherapy or combined with immunosuppressive drugs. Since intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIGs) have been found to be effective for various autoimmune dermatoses, their indications have expanded tremendously.
The aim this review article is to highlight the indications, effectiveness, and side effects of high doses immunoglobulins for treatment of patients with connective tissue diseases.
MEDLINE was searched for prospective clinical studies and case reports on IVIG treatment of lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, systemic sclerosis, and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD). Included studies were analyzed and discussed in terms of the different disease entities.
Results and conclusion
IVIGs are a valuable alternative for treating therapy-resistant patients with lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, systemic sclerosis, or MCTD. However, more placebo-controlled clinical studies are needed to evaluate the exact indications and therapeutic regimens.