Author(s): Rea TH
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Abstract Changes in hemoglobin (HGB) and serum albumin (SA) concentration associated with the onset of symptomatic erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) were studied by comparing the values obtained on the day thalidomide or prednisone therapy commenced, with each patients' preceding values. In three groups of ENL patients mean HGB values fell with statistical significance: 1) in 38 patients who had been begun on thalidomide in the decade of the 1990s and who had been receiving dapsone for a minimum of 6 months, mean HGB values fell from 13.19 gm/dl to 12.27 gm/dl, or 7.0\%, p = 6.0 x 10(-6); 2) in 8 patients who were in the active patient file not overlapping with the preceding group, and who had been on dapsone for a minimum of 6 months, mean HGB values feel from 13.40 gm/dl to 11.96 gm/dl, or 10.7\%, p = 0.0015; and 3) in 8 patients not overlapping with the preceding groups, who were treated with rifampin and minocylcine or clarithromycin mean HGB values fell from 13.25 gm/dl to 12.48 gm/dl, or 5.8\%, p = 0.0035. In two groups of ENL patients SA values also fell with statistical significance: 1) in 34 patients who were begun on thalidomide in the decade of the 1990s and who had been on dapsone for a minimum of 6 months, mean SA values fell from 4.14 gm/dl to 3.77 gm/dl, or 8.9\%, p = 1.2 x 10(-5); and 2) in 10 patients from the active file not overlapping with the preceding group, and who had been on dapsone for a minimum of 6 months, mean SA values fell from 4.45 gm/dl to 4.06 gm/dl, or 8.8\%, p = 0.039. A brisk fall in HGB values was often accompanied by a fall in SA concentration, and vice versa. Recovery from extreme falls in HGB and SA values was complete in 13 weeks. Recovery occurred in the presence of continued dapsone treatment. The falls could be rapid, occurring too soon to be the result of decreased erythropoiesis or hepatic SA synthesis. This study provides no direct evidence as to the mechanism responsible for the fall in these two parameters, but an interleukin-6 mediated hemodilution is an attractive hypothesis. The ENL-associated fall in HGB values was distinct from dapsone-induced hemolysis and the anemia of chronic disease. The ENL-associated anemia is not a good reason to discontinue dapsone therapy.
This article was published in Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology