Background and aim: Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a rare chronic form of hepatitis, the prognosis for which has not been definitively established. The current study aimed to define the prognostic factors for remission and compare the median time to remission, complications, and relapse rate between type 1 AIH patients treated with prednisolone monotherapy and those treated using prednisolone in combination with azathioprine. Materials and methods: The data of 86 patients diagnosed with type 1 AIH between January 1998 and January 2018 were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical, serological, and histological parameters were obtained. Cox-proportional hazard and logistic regression analyses were applied to the data. Results: The prognostic factors related to complete remission were absence of liver cirrhosis, hypertension, and azathioprine exposure. The median time to complete remission of the prednisolone group (92 days; 95%CI; 65–264 days) was significantly shorter (P = 0.01) than that of the combination group (336 days; 95%CI; 161–562 days); however, the prednisolone group had higher rates of treatment complications—including skin and soft tissue infections (P = 0.010) and cushingoid appearance (P = 0.011)—than the combination group. The prednisolone group also had a higher relapse rate (odds ratio 6.13, 95% CI 1.72–21.80, P = 0.005). Conclusions: The absence of liver cirrhosis and hypertension at the time of diagnosis and no azathioprine exposure during the treatment period were favorable prognostic factors for complete remission. The prednisolone group had a significantly shorter median time to complete remission but higher rates of treatment complications and a higher relapse rate than the combination group.
Heliyon, Volume 6, April 2020,