Rituximab reduces attacks in Chinese patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders.

Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
Journal of the neurological sciences (Impact Factor: 2.32). 10/2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.jns.2012.09.024
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We evaluated the safety and efficacy of rituximab in seven Chinese patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) or neuromyelitis optica syndrome disorders (NMOSD) in a tertiary medical center in Hong Kong. After rituximab induction, five patients became relapse-free and two had 50% reduction of relapses over a median follow-up of 24 months. No further deterioration of functional status, measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale, was observed in all patients. Infusions were well tolerated except in two patients who developed transient hypotension. Rituximab reduced clinical relapse and prevented neurological deterioration in a small cohort of Chinese patients with NMO or NMOSD.

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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system. Recently, various immunosuppressant medications were introduced as therapeutic options for preventing relapse of NMOSD. However, our understanding of the effectiveness ofmycophenolate mofetil (MMF) in treating patients with NMOSD is based on only a small number of studies. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the efficacy and safety of MMF treatment in patients with NMOSD. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A 3-center retrospective review of our experiences, examining results from 59 patients with NMOSD (24 with neuromyelitis optica and 35 with a limited form of the disease) who were treated with MMF (1000-2000 mg/d). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Patients' annualized relapse rate, disability as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale, and experience of adverse effects due to MMF were assessed. RESULTS Of the 59 patients, 1 with NMOSD who had to discontinue MMF use in the first month due to a rash was excluded. The remaining 58 patients were included in the drug-efficacy analysis. The median post-MMF annualized relapse rate was significantly lower than the pre-MMF annualized relapse rate (0.0 vs 1.5; P < .001). The Expanded Disability Status Scale scores also significantly decreased after MMF treatment (3.0 vs 2.5; P = .005). Thirty-five patients (60%) were relapse free, and Expanded Disability Status Scale scores were stabilized or improved in 53 patients (91%). Fourteen patients discontinued MMF treatment owing to ongoing relapse (10 patients), rash (1 patient), pregnancy (1 patient), and financial problems (2 patients), but MMF was generally well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE In this observational study, MMF treatment induced reduction of relapse frequency, stabilized or improved disability, and was well tolerated in patients with NMOSD.
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