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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Early onset pauciarticular arthritis is the major risk factor for naproxen-induced pseudoporphyria in juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Susanne G Schäd12*, Andrea Kraus3, Imme Haubitz4, Jiri Trcka12, Henning Hamm1 and Hermann J Girschick3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, University of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str, 97080 Würzburg, Germany

2 Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University of Rostock, Augustenstr, 18055 Rostock, Germany

3 Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Rheumatology and Osteology, University of Würzburg, Josef Schneider Str, 97080 Würzburg, Germany

4 IT Centre, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:R10  doi:10.1186/ar2117

Published: 31 January 2007

Abstract

Pseudoporphyria (PP) is characterized by skin fragility, blistering and scarring in sun-exposed skin areas without abnormalities in porphyrin metabolism. The phenylpropionic acid derivative group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, especially naproxen, is known to cause PP. Naproxen is currently one of the most prescribed drugs in the therapy of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). The prevalence of PP was determined in a 9-year retrospective study of children with JIA and associated diseases. In addition, we prospectively studied the incidence of PP in 196 patients (127 girls and 69 boys) with JIA and associated diseases treated with naproxen from July 2001 to March 2002. We compared these data with those from a matched control group with JIA and associated diseases not treated with naproxen in order to identify risk factors for development of PP. The incidence of PP in the group of children taking naproxen was 11.4%. PP was particularly frequent in children with the early-onset pauciarticular subtype of JIA (mean age 4.5 years). PP was associated with signs of disease activity, such as reduced haemoglobin (<11.75 g/dl), and increased leucocyte counts (>10,400/μl) and erythocyte sedimentation rate (>26 mm/hour). Comedications, especially chloroquine intake, appeared to be additional risk factors. The mean duration of naproxen therapy before the onset of PP was 18.1 months, and most children with PP developed their lesions within the first 2 years of naproxen treatment. JIA disease activity seems to be a confounding factor for PP. In particular, patients with early-onset pauciarticular JIA patients who have significant inflammation appear to be prone to developing PP upon treatment with naproxen.