Evidence-based practice in Behçet’s disease : identifying areas of unmet need for 2014

Robert J Barry, Bharat Markandey, Rahul Malhotra, Henry Knott, Nikita Joji, Mohammed Mubin, Alastair K Denniston, Philip Murray

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Behçet’s Disease (BD) is characterized by a relapsing-remitting course, with symptoms of varying severity across almost all organ systems. There is a diverse array of therapeutic options with no universally accepted treatment regime, and it is thus important that clinical practice is evidence-based. We reviewed all currently available literature describing management of BD, and investigated whether evidence-based practice is possible for all disease manifestations, and assessed the range of therapeutic options tested.

We conducted an internet search of all literature describing management of BD up to August 2013, including pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. We recorded treatment options investigated and disease manifestations reported as primary and secondary study outcomes. Quality of data was assessed according to the Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) hierarchy of evidence.

Whilst there is much literature describing treatment of ocular and mucocutaneous disease, there is little to guide management of rheumatoid, cardiovascular and neurological disease. This broadly reflects the prevalence of disease manifestations of BD, but not the severity. Biologic therapies are the most commonly investigated intervention. The proportion of SIGN-1 graded studies is declining, and there are no SIGN-1 graded studies investigating neurological or gastrointestinal manifestations of BD.

This is the first study to investigate trends in published literature for management of BD over time. It identifies neurological, cardiovascular and gastro-intestinal disease as particular areas of unmet need and suggests that overall quality of evidence is declining. Future research should be designed to address these areas of insufficiency to facilitate evidence-based practice in BD.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2014


  • Behçet’s disease
  • Evidence based medicine
  • Therapy
  • Systematic review


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