Insufficient use of corticosteroids without immunosuppressants results in higher relapse rates in takayasu arteritis

Tomoyuki Mutoh, Tsuyoshi Shirai, Hiroshi Fujii, Tomonori Ishii, Hideo Harigae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Although prednisolone (PSL) and immunosuppressants are key drugs for Takayasu arteritis (TA) treatment, there is limited evidence on the optimal PSL dose. The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between the initial PSL dose and relapse in TA. Methods. We enrolled 105 patients with TA who satisfied the criteria of the Japanese Circulation Society and American College of Rheumatology from 1990 to 2015. The clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with TA were retrospectively evaluated. The relapse-free period was assessed according to the difference in initial treatments. Results. Relapse was observed in 57 (59.4%) of 96 patients treated with immunosuppressive therapy at diagnosis during a median followup of 56 months. Male sex and younger age of onset were significantly associated with relapse. Although ≤ 30 mg/day PSL monotherapy was preferably prescribed for patients with lower inflammatory markers, compared with < 30 mg/day (87.2% vs 52.6%), a significantly higher relapse rate was observed in the ≤ 30 mg/day group (HR 1.78; p = 0.047). Further, the relapse-free period was longer in patients treated with ≥ 50 mg/day PSL compared with those treated with ≤ 40 mg/day PSL. Combination therapy improved the relapse-free period compared with PSL monotherapy in the short term. The initial PSL dose was not associated with adverse events. Conclusion. A higher dose of PSL was associated with a significant decrease in the relapse rate. The effect of combination therapy on relapse needs to be further investigated. Lower-dose PSL monotherapy is an undesirable strategy for remission induction in TA, despite low disease activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 1


  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Relapse
  • Takayasu arteritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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