Immunoglobulin treatment in refractory Myasthenia gravis

Muscle Nerve. 2000 Apr;23(4):551-5.
Achiron A, Barak Y, Miron S, Sarova-Pinhas I.

Neuroimmunology Unit, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, 52621 Israel.

Failure to induce and maintain remission in severe exacerbations of myasthenia gravis (MG), despite optimal care, is a common problem. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy in an open-label study of 10 patients with severe generalized myasthenia and an acute deterioration unresponsive to conventional therapy including high-dose corticosteroids, cyclosporine, and azathioprine. Intravenous Ig at a loading dose of 400 mg/kg was administered daily for 5 consecutive days, with maintenance IVIg treatment at a dose of 400 mg/kg, once every 6 weeks. Significant improvement occurred in all patients, beginning at 6 +/- 2 days of treatment as measured by the Osserman scale, fatigue variables, muscle strength, and respiratory function tests. No side effects were observed during induction of remission. Further IVIg treatments were highly efficacious in maintaining the remission. The severity of the disease decreased by 2.5 +/- 0.8 grades of the Osserman scale over a period of 1 year (P <0.001), in parallel with reduction of immunosuppressive therapy as well as a decrease in acetylcholine receptor antibody titers (P < 0.01). Intravenous Ig therapy seems to be highly potent for inducing rapid improvement in refractory myasthenia during acute deterioration as well as for maintaining remission. Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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