Managing panniculitis in alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency: Systematic review of evidence behind treatment

Donah Sabbagh,, Behrad Barmayehvar,, Thanh Nguyen,, Ross Edgar, Alice Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIM To systematically review literature for management of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) panniculitis. METHODS Multiple databases were searched using combinations of pertinent terms. Articles were selected describing panniculitis treatment in patients with AAT < 11 μmol and/or PiZZ genotype, with no language limitation. All relevant articles were accessed in full text. Independent review of abstracts and full manuscripts was conducted by 2 reviewers, and quality assessment by one reviewer (checked by a second). Data extraction was conducted by one reviewer (checked by a second). Narrative synthesis only was conducted, as data were unsuitable for meta-analysis. RESULTS Thirty-two case reports and 4 case series were found. Augmentation therapy (infusions of plasma-derived AAT) was the most successful, with complete resolution of symptoms in all patients. Dapsone is a less expensive option, and it achieved clinical resolution in 62% of patients, but it is very poorly tolerated. Among other single-agent antibiotics, doxycycline was the most successful with complete clinical resolution seen in 33% of patients. Immunosuppressants were largely unsuccessful; 80% of patients exhibited no response. Liver transplantation and therapeutic plasma exchange displayed complete resolution in 66% of patients. Other strategies, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics other than dapsone did not show sufficient response rates to recommend their use. Authors note the risk of bias imposed by the type of evidence (case reports, case series) available in this field. CONCLUSION Dapsone is the recommended first line therapy for AATD panniculitis, followed by augmentation therapy. Plasma exchange may be an alternative in the setting of rapidly progressive disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Dermatology
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2018


  • Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency
  • Dermatological treatment
  • Panniculitis
  • Dapsone
  • Augmentation therapy


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