Background: Cyclophosphamide has transformed the outcome of ANCA-associated vasculitis, but it is highly toxic. Recent studies have suggested that pulsed intravenous cyclophosphamide (pCyc) is an effective alternative with less complications, but may lead to an increased rate of relapse. However, these studies used relatively short courses of treatment with cyclophosphamide. In this study we used a prolonged course of low-dose intravenous cyclophosphamide for 18–24 months for ANCA-associated vasculitis, evaluated the effectiveness of pCyc and analysed the outcome of a prolonged treatment on the rate of relapse. Methods: A retrospective analysis of all the patients treated with pCyc from 1995 to 2002 was performed. Results: Thirty-seven patients were followed for an average of 38 months. Thirty-four of 37 patients (91.9%) achieved complete remission at 3 months. Eight (21%) episodes of relapse occurred in 7 patients. The cyclophosphamide was well tolerated with a low rate of infections (18.9%) and 1 death (2.7%) due to sepsis whilst on cyclophosphamide. Conclusion: In this study, pCyc was effective in achieving rapid remission and had a low complication rate. If prolonged, this treatment may reduce the rate of relapse.
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