Comparison of clinical features and drug therapies among European and Latin American patients with juvenile dermatomyositis
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Objective: To compare the demographic features, presenting manifestations, diagnostic investigations, disease course, and drug therapies of children with juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) followed in Europe and Latin America. Methods: Patients were inception cohorts seen between 1980 and 2004 in 27 paediatric rheumatology centres. The following information was collected through the review of patient charts: sex; age at disease onset; date of disease onset and diagnosis; onset type; presenting clinical features; diagnostic investigations; course type; and medications received during disease course. Results: Four hundred and ninety patients (65.5% females, mean onset age 7.0 years, mean disease duration 7.7 years) were included. Disease presentation was acute or insidious in 57.1% and 42.9% of the patients, respectively. The course type was monophasic in 41.3% of patients and chronic polycyclic or continuous in 58.6% of patients. The more common presenting manifestations were muscle weakness (84.9%), Gottron's papules (72.9%), heliotrope rash (62%), and malar rash (56.7%). Overall, the demographic and clinical features of the 2 continental cohorts were comparable. European patients received more frequently high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone, cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide, and azathioprine, while methotrexate and antimalarials medications were used more commonly by Latin American physicians. Conclusion: The demographic and clinical characteristics of JDM are similar in European and Latin American patients. We found, however, several differences in the use of medications between European and Latin American paediatric rheumatologists. © Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2011.