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A 5-Year Follow-up of Rituximab Treatment in Patients With Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder.

Kim SH, Huh SY, Lee SJ, Joung A, Kim HJ.

JAMA Neurol. 2013 Jul 29. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.3071. [Epub ahead of print] 


A previous 2-year analysis of repeated rituximab treatment in patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) revealed significant improvements in relapse rates and disability. We report the findings from the longest follow-up of rituximab treatment in NMO, which provide reassurance regarding the long-term efficacy and safety of rituximab in NMO.

To report the results of rituximab treatment in patients with relapsing NMO or NMO spectrum disorder (NMOSD) for a median of 60 months.

Retrospective case series in an institutional referral center for multiple sclerosis, including 30 patients with relapsing NMO or NMOSD.

After induction therapy, a single infusion of rituximab (375 mg/m2) as maintenance therapy was administered whenever the frequency of reemerging CD27+ memory B cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, as measured with flow cytometry, exceeded 0.05%in the first 2 years and 0.1% thereafter.

Annualized relapse rate (ARR), disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale score), change in anti–aquaporin 4 antibody, and safety of rituximab treatment.

Of 30 patients, 26 (87%) exhibited a marked reduction in ARR over 5 years (mean [SD] pretreatment vs posttreatment ARR, 2.4 [1.5] vs 0.3 [1.0]). Eighteen patients (60%) became relapse free after rituximab treatment. In 28 patients (93%), the disability was either improved or stabilized after rituximab treatment. No serious adverse events leading to discontinuation were observed during follow-up.

Repeated treatment with rituximab in patients with NMOSD over a 5-period, using an individualized dosing schedule according to the frequency of reemerging CD27+ memory B cells, leads to a sustained clinical response with no new adverse events.

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

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Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, September 2015, Vol 4 Issue 5