[Trial of rituximab in three patients with neuromyelitis optica].


Patients with relapsing neuromyelitis optica (NMO) showing contiguous long spinal cord lesions extending over three vertebral segments on the MRI and with positive anti-aquaporin 4 antibodies in sera are usually treated with glucocorticoids or azathioprine. However, some NMO patients even after adequate treatments show relapses. Rituximab (anti-CD 20) therapy has recently been reported to inhibit relapses. We used rituximab to treat three NMO patients defined by the revised NMO criteria of Wingerchuk et al, with rituximab for 2 years and 3 months (mean) at an intervals of about nine months. The annualized relapse rate for the 3 patients during the year before rituximab therapy was 4, 5, and 6, respectively, and this decreased to 3, 1, and 0 in the year after therapy. Case 1 showed three relapses after therapy: however, the symptoms and signs of each of the relapses were milder and the patient showed good responses to steroid pulse therapy. One year after therapy, relapses had disappeared in all cases (observation periods; 18, 18, and 9 months, respectively). After rituximab therapy, these NMO patients showed a decreased mean annualized relapse rate (from 5.0 to 0.6) and EDSS score (from 8.7 to 8.0) after rituximab therapy. No adverse effects were seen. We recommend rituximab therapy for NMO patients resistant to other immunosuppressive therapies such as oral glucocorticoid administration introduced after a severe relapse. However, during long term rituximab treatment, attention needs to be given to infections such as progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy.

Cite this paper

@article{Imamura2009TrialOR, title={[Trial of rituximab in three patients with neuromyelitis optica].}, author={Hisaji Imamura and Masami Tanaka and Naoyuki Kitagawa and Masayuki Tahara and Miki Oono and Keiko Tanaka and Tetsuro Konishi}, journal={Rinshō shinkeigaku = Clinical neurology}, year={2009}, volume={49 8}, pages={457-62} }