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Treatment of Behçet’s syndrome

Ellison L Smith, MD
Yusuf Yazici, MD
Section Editor
Peter A Merkel, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Monica Ramirez Curtis, MD, MPH


Behçet’s syndrome is an inflammatory disease characterized by recurrent oral aphthous ulcers and numerous potential systemic manifestations. These include genital ulcers, ocular disease, skin lesions, neurologic disease, vascular disease, and arthritis.

Most clinical manifestations of Behçet’s syndrome are believed to be due to vasculitis. Among the systemic vasculitides, Behçet’s syndrome is remarkable for its ability to involve blood vessels of all sizes—small, medium, and large—on both the arterial and venous sides of the circulation.

The treatment of Behçet’s syndrome will be reviewed here. The pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis are discussed separately. (See "Pathogenesis of Behçet’s syndrome" and "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Behçet’s syndrome".)


The literature on the treatment of Behçet’s syndrome consists primarily of case reports and small case series, with few follow-up studies to confirm findings of preliminary reports and few randomized clinical trials.

In a systematic review from the Cochrane Database of trials conducted up until 1998, only 10 single- or double-blind trials fit the inclusion criteria [1]. The authors noted a lack of comparability across trials that precluded the pooling of data. The robustness of their analysis was hampered by the small number of studies.


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jun 2, 2015.
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