Adrenocorticotropic hormone analogue as novel treatment regimen in ocular cicatricial pemphigoid

Yael Sharon*, David S. Chu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To report the clinical outcome of a patient with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, treated with adrenocorticotropic hormone gel. Observations: A 75-year-old female with a biopsy proven ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP) presented with bilateral conjunctival inflammation, fornix shortening, subepithelial fibrosis and corneal scarring. The patient was previously treated with topical steroids, topical cyclosporine and lubricating drops, and had undergone several amniotic membrane transplants due to recurrent corneal erosions. Once OCP diagnosis was established, the patient was started on oral corticosteroids (60 mg daily). In order to wean the patient off from systemic steroids, other immunomodulatory agents had been tried, including mycophenolate mofetil (1000 mg twice daily) and methotrexate (up to 25 mg weekly). However, none of these agents adequately controlled the ocular surface inflammation, and the patient experienced bilateral progressive cicatrization and corneal decompensation, as well as the development of side effects from the systemic corticosteroids, methotrexate and mycophenolate mofetil therapies. Treatment with twice weekly subcutaneous adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) gel was initiated, along with tapering of systemic corticosteroids. During the 19 months treatment period, the patient demonstrated significant improvement in the ocular surface inflammation, visual acuity was stable and no significant adverse effects were observed. Systemic corticosteroids dosage was successfully reduced from 10 mg/day to none at last follow up. Conclusions and importance: ACTH gel has shown to be an effective and safe treatment option for chronic, refractory and progressive ocular inflammatory disease. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case report of a patient with OCP, treated successfully with ACTH gel. This case report may encourage ophthalmologists to employ ACTH gel in the management of OCP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-267
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Clinical outcome
  • Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid


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