Immunoglobulins are 2nd or 3rd-line treatments in dermatomyositis (DM) or polymyositis (PM) refractory to high-dose corticosteroids and immunosuppressants. Immunoglobulins (2 g/kg/mo) are usually administered intravenously (IVIg) once a month and the patients stay at hospital for a few days. Recently, subcutaneous injections (SCIg) were proposed 2 to 3 times per week, in some dysimmune diseases. SCIg are administered at home preferably by the patient or by a nurse.
The authors investigated the needs and attitudes of DM and PM patients with experience of IVIg and SCIg.Seven patients (6 PM and 1 DM) from a single center participated in a focus group (N = 6) or underwent in-depth interview (N = 1). Six had the experience of both IVIg at hospital and SCIg at home; 1 has received only IVIg at hospital. Verbatim was recorded and transcribed for further content analysis and computer-aided textual analysis.Clinical profiles and stories were heterogeneous. At diagnosis, muscle weakness, severe pain, and fatigue were at the forefront of patients’ complaints impairing daily life.
Patients reported considerable improvement with immunoglobulins. SCIg were described as easy, less disruptive for daily life, well tolerated, and less time-consuming. SCIg self-administration at home restored the feeling of autonomy and control.Interviews of DM and PM patients revealed that recovering autonomy and control was a central advantage of home-based SCIg that were efficient, well tolerated, and perceived as a good compromise between treatment burden and efficacy.