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Hydroxychloroquine for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: multifocal electroretinogram and laser flare-cell photometry study

Authors Sebastiani S, Fresina M, Cellini M, Campos EC

Received 22 December 2016

Accepted for publication 18 March 2017

Published 11 April 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 689—696


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Stefano Sebastiani, Michela Fresina, Mauro Cellini, Emilio C Campos

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic, and Specialty Medicine, Ophthalmology Service, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Purpose: To evaluate early changes in multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) and subclinical aqueous humor flare and cellularity in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods: Ten patients receiving treatment with HCQ and no ophthalmic symptoms were enrolled. After complete ocular examination, mfERG and laser flare-cell photometry were performed. Patients were also divided into two subgroups with HCQ cumulative dose (CD) higher or lower than 500 g. Results obtained were compared with a control group of ten healthy subjects and statistical analysis was performed.
Results: In patients receiving HCQ treatment, mfERG P1-wave in ring 2 showed a significant reduction in amplitude and a significant increase in latency compared to healthy control subjects, respectively resulting in 1.143 µV vs 1.316 µV (P=0.040) and 38.611 ms vs 36.334 ms (P=0.024). These changes are highly related to CD. Furthermore, when using the laser flare-cell photometry, a significant increase in aqueous humor flare and cellularity was shown in patients with CD higher than 500 g, resulting in a mean value of 14.4 ph/ms compared to 8.1 ph/ms in patients with CD lower than 500 g (P=0.0029). These reports appear highly related to CD (P=0.001). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed mfERG P1-wave amplitude in ring 2 as the most sensitive value in detecting early HCQ-related retinopathy.
Conclusion: MfERG was shown to be a very sensitive test in detecting early retinal toxicity and should be used for the screening of patients receiving HCQ treatment. Although less sensitive, laser flare-cell photometry can provide further information to evaluate early toxic retinal cell damage.

Keywords: hydroxychloroquine, multifocal electroretinography, laser flare-cell photometry, rheumatoid arthritis

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