Rituximab for myasthenia gravis: three case reports and review of the literature.

Department of Neurology, Academic Teaching Hospital Wagner-Jauregg, Linz, Austria.
Journal of the neurological sciences (Impact Factor: 2.32). 06/2009; 280(1-2):120-2. DOI: 10.1016/j.jns.2009.02.357
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In generalized myasthenia gravis (MG), a wide array of immunosuppressive and immunomodulating treatments is being used in clinical practice, but most drugs lack evidence from randomized controlled trials supporting their use. Furthermore, many patients develop serious side effects or do not respond sufficiently to these drugs. We report three patients with generalized MG who were treated with rituximab, a monoclonal antibody against CD20+ cells that causes prolonged B cell depletion. In all three patients, treatment with rituximab led to a sustained clinical improvement and discontinuation or reduction of prednisolone and other drugs. Rituximab was well tolerated. Therapy with rituximab was guided by the total count of peripheral B lymphocytes. Reviewing the anecdotal literature on rituximab for MG, we conclude that preliminary data on the efficacy and safety of rituximab are encouraging and that further studies in MG seem warranted.

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