Intravenous immunoglobulin monotherapy in long-term treatment of myasthenia gravis.

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2002 Dec;105(1):3-8.

Wegner B, Ahmed I.

Trinity Lutheran Hospital, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate effectiveness of long-term treatment of myasthenia gravis (MG) with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). BACKGROUND: There are no definitive studies showing effectiveness of IVIG therapy in long-term treatment of MG. Most studies have investigated the acute treatment of MG with IVIG. We describe our experience with long-term treatment of MG with IVIG in six patients. METHODS: Acute treatment of MG by IVIG therapy has been well established in the literature. We describe six patients who were treated on a long-term basis with IVIG therapy. All of these patients had positive acetylcholine receptor antibody titers. They all received initial infusion for 5 days of IVIG at a dose of 400 mg/kg/day followed by maintenance therapy of 400 mg/kg for 1 day every 3-4 months. These patients were followed for 2 years. All other medications, including prednisone and cholingeric drugs such as Mestinon, were gradually weaned. For the last years, each of these patients maintained better than functional class 2 on an average of 1.5-2.2+/-0.5 grades on the University of Virginia modification of Ossermann's classification scale for MG. They were solely treated with IVIG infusion every 3-4 months without any other concomitant medications. Three of the patients had previously undergone thymectomies. None of the patients noticed any worsening in their scores on the University of Virginia modification of Ossermann's classification worse than Grade II in the last 2 years. There were no complications related to IVIG therapy, and all patients tolerated a single infusion of IVIG every 3-4 months at 400 mg/kg for 1 day. RESULTS: Our study demonstrates that IVIG maintenance is effective treatment of MG in selected patients and it is well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: IVIG therapy is a convenient, effective therapy when used selectively for treatment of MG on a long-term basis without any significant side effects.

Publication Types:
  • Case Reports

PMID: 12445915 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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