In Behcet's disease ( BD ), interleukin-6 ( IL-6 ) drive the immune-mediated inflammatory process. The IL-6 receptor can be targeted using Tocilizumab ( RoActemra ).
As an off-label treatment, researchers have tested its efficacy in patients with Behcet's disease.
Overall, 4 patients with refractory Behcet's disease were treated with Tocilizumab, 8mg/kg/4 weeks. Patients were clinically and biologically assessed before administering each dose and the literature was reviewed.
Tocilizumab was found to be safe and well tolerated.
Behcet's disease activity decreased significantly in all patients, and Prednisone dose was reduced in all cases ( up to 50% of the baseline dose ).
Treatment appeared effective in alleviating skin/mucosal effects, neurological involvement, and uveitis, but less effective for arthralgia and abdominal pain.
A very short time lag between the onset of treatment with Tocilizumab and the clinical response was observed.
The literature review revealed 11 previous cases reporting improvement to Behcet's disease with this treatment, and 3 previous cases without efficacy.
In conclusion, researchers have reported the most important study treating refractory Behcet's disease with Tocilizumab; this treatment could be safe and efficient, but will require further evaluation by randomized clinical trials. ( Xagena )
Deroux A et al, Semin Arthritis Rheum 2015; Epub ahead of print