Treatment of Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome-Related Interstitial Lung Disease: a Retrospective Cohort Study

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Barkha Amlani
Ghada Elsayed
Umang Barvalia
Jeffrey P Kanne
Keith C Meyer
Nathan Sandbo
Zhanhai Li
Sara S McCoy


Sjögren’s Syndrome, Interstitial Lung Disease, Treatment


Background: Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a common complication of primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS). Because there is a paucity of literature on the management of pSS-associated ILD (pSS-ILD), this retrospective cohort study assessed the efficacy of azathioprine and mycophenolate therapy in adult patients with pSS-ILD. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed using electronic health records to identify adults meeting the 2016 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism classification criteria for pSS. The presence of pSS-ILD was confirmed by characteristic high-resolution computed tomography and/or histopathology findings. Sociodemographic, clinical, and pulmonary function test (PFT) data were abstracted for patients meeting the criteria and followed longitudinally from the date of their ILD diagnosis. PFT values were anchored on time of treatment start, and linear mixed-effects modeling was used to analyze changes in diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) and forced vital capacity (FVC) before and after treatment initiation. Results: We identified 19 subjects who had pSS-ILD, of whom seven were treated with azathioprine and seven were treated with mycophenolate. Within the azathioprine treated group, FVC% slope change trended toward improvement from a rate of -9.8% per month pre-treatment to 2.1% per month post-treatment (p = 0.13). Within the mycophenolate treated group, FVC% slope change improved from a rate of 1.5% per month pre-treatment to 4.3% per month post-treatment (p = 0.02) and DLCO% slope changed from a rate of -3.8% to –1.3% per month (p = 0.01) after therapy start. Conclusions: Mycophenolate treatment was associated with significant improvement in PFTs of pSS-ILD patients over time, and azathioprine treatment followed a similar non-significanttrend. Additional prospective studies are needed to further evaluate these findings.


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