Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Tolerability of Mycophenolate Mofetil and Mycophenolic Acid for the Treatment of Morphea

Megan Arthur, Nicole M. Fett, Emile Latour, Heidi Jacobe, Elaine Kunzler, Stephanie Florez-Pollack, Jacob Houser, Shivani Sharma, Smriti Prasad, Alisa Femia, Marleigh J. Stern, Lisa K. Pappas-Taffer, Rebecca Gaffney, Anthony P. Fernandez, Daniel Knabel, Adela Rambi Cardones, Nicole Leung, Anne Laumann, Jeong Min Yu, Jeffrey ZhaoRuth Ann Vleugels, Elizabeth Tkachenko, Kelly Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Importance: First-line systemic therapy for morphea includes methotrexate with or without systemic corticosteroids. When this regimen is ineffective, not tolerated, or contraindicated, a trial of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) or mycophenolic acid (MPA) - referred to herein as mycophenolate - is recommended; however, evidence to support this recommendation remains weak. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness and tolerability of mycophenolate for the treatment of morphea. Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective cohort study was conducted from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2018, among 77 patients with morphea from 8 institutions who were treated with mycophenolate. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was morphea disease activity, severity, and response at 0, 3 to 6, and 9 to 12 months of mycophenolate treatment. A secondary outcome was whether mycophenolate was a well-tolerated treatment of morphea. Results: There were 61 female patients (79%) and 16 male patients (21%) in the study, with a median age at disease onset of 36 years (interquartile range, 16-53 years) and median diagnostic delay of 8 months (interquartile range, 4-14 months). Generalized morphea (37 [48%]), pansclerotic morphea (12 [16%]), and linear morphea of the trunk and/or extremities (9 [12%]) were the most common subtypes of morphea identified. Forty-one patients (53%) had an associated functional impairment, and 49 patients (64%) had severe disease. Twelve patients received initial treatment with mycophenolate as monotherapy or combination therapy and 65 patients received mycophenolate after prior treatment was ineffective (50 of 65 [77%]) or poorly tolerated (21 of 65 [32%]). Treatments prior to mycophenolate included methotrexate (48 of 65 [74%]), systemic corticosteroids (42 of 65 [65%]), hydroxychloroquine (20 of 65 [31%]), and/or phototherapy (14 of 65 [22%]). After 3 to 6 months of mycophenolate treatment, 66 of 73 patients had stable (n = 22) or improved (n = 44) disease. After 9 to 12 months of treatment, 47 of 54 patients had stable (n = 14) or improved (n = 33) disease. Twenty-seven patients (35%) achieved disease remission at completion of the study. Treatments received in conjunction with mycophenolate were frequent. Mycophenolate was well tolerated. Gastrointestinal adverse effects were the most common (24 [31%]); cytopenia (3 [4%]) and infection (2 [3%]) occurred less frequently. Conclusions and Relevance: This study suggests that mycophenolate is a well-tolerated and beneficial treatment of recalcitrant, severe morphea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-528
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Tolerability of Mycophenolate Mofetil and Mycophenolic Acid for the Treatment of Morphea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this