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Kikuchi Disease Treatment & Management

  • Author: John Boone, MD; Chief Editor: Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP  more...
Updated: Apr 14, 2016

Medical Care

Treatment of Kikuchi disease is generally supportive. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to alleviate lymph node tenderness and fever. The use of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, has been recommended in severe extranodal or generalized Kikuchi disease.[2, 30] Indications for corticosteroid use include the following:

  • Neurologic involvement – Aseptic meningitis, cerebellar ataxia
  • Hepatic involvement – Elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level
  • Severe lupuslike syndrome – Positive antinuclear antibody (ANA) titers

Jang and colleagues recommended expanding the indications for corticosteroid use to less-severe disease.[30] They administered prednisone when patients had prolonged fever and annoying symptoms lasting more than 2 weeks despite NSAID therapy, as well as for recurrent disease and for patients who desired a faster return to work.

Immunosuppressants have been recommended as an adjunct to corticosteroids in severe, life-threatening disease.



Surgical consultation may be indicated for excisional lymph node biopsy, for the purpose of confirming the diagnosis ofKikuchi disease.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

John Boone, MD Consulting Staff, Department of Otolaryngology, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor

John Boone, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Charles S Kuzma, MD Consulting Staff, Clinical Research Coordinator, First Health of the Carolinas Cancer Center

Charles S Kuzma, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology, California Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Lawrence H Brent, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University; Chair, Program Director, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Albert Einstein Medical Center

Lawrence H Brent, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Immunologists, American College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Janssen<br/>Serve(d) as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: Abbvie; Genentech; Pfizer; Questcor.

Chief Editor

Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP Dishner Endowed Chair of Excellence in Medicine, Professor of Medicine, James H Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University

Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Society of Hematology, Royal College of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Karen Seiter, MD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Oncology/Hematology, New York Medical College

Karen Seiter, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Research, American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Received honoraria from Novartis for speaking and teaching; Received consulting fee from Novartis for speaking and teaching; Received honoraria from Celgene for speaking and teaching.

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