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Rituximab treatment in Myasthenia gravis: an open-label trial
Titre de la conférence
21st Meeting of the European Neurological Society
Lisbon, Portugal, May 28-31, 2011
Date de publication
Journal of Neurology
Publication type : Meeting Abstract
Myasthenia gravis (MG), an antibody (AB)-mediated autoimmune disorder, responds to treatments targeting the humoral response such as intravenous immunoglobulines (IVIG) and plasma exchange treatments (PEX). Rituximab (RTX), a monoclonal anti-CD20 AB that depletes the specific B lymphocyte population should be efficient and is being used for resistant MG patients in small cohorts. Objectives: This is an observational prospective study that aims to determine the efficacy of RTX in MG, the duration of the clinical effect after treatment and the possible sparing effect on other immunosuppressive drugs.Methods: Between January 2009 and December 2010, 8 MG (2 with anti-MUSK AB) patients (62.5% female) with mean age of 41 years (range 24-79 yo), were treated by RTX. The patients treated were those who experienced serious side-effects and/or treatment failure. In three cases the criteria for treatment was the need to spare frequent recurrent plasmapheresis or IGIV treatment. We compared the functional tests before and prospectively after the treatment (schema used for one cure: 2 9 1gr within 15 days interval), the duration of the efficiency (follow-up of 4-24 months) and we repeated the cures based on clinical criteria.Results: Two patients (25%) underwent 3 RTX cures, 2 (25%) underwent 2 cures and the others (50%) one cure. No adverse events were observed. Six patients (75%) showed a clinical response with improvement of the functional scores and reduction of the concomitant immunosuppressive treatments (75% for prednisone, 35% for other immunosuppressive drugs) that persists over a period of 4-9 months. Follow-up of clinical state and lymphocyte count showed an inverse correlation between the CD 19 count and the clinical state of the patients.Conclusion: In this small series of patients RTX treatment shows significant improvement of clinical state of MG refractory to conventional treatment patients, without side-effects reported, even in patients that were retreated. Larger studies should be held to determine if RTX could be an alternative to plasmapheresis and IVIG as second-line treatment in MG.
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