The Use of Rituximab in Neuromuscular Diseases
Autoimmunity plays a major role in the pathogenesis of many neuromuscular disorders such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, myasthenia gravis, Lambert Eaton syndrome, and stiff person syndrome. Although most of these disorders respond favorably to the commonly used immunomodulatory agents such as steroids, intravenous gamma globulin, plasmapheresis, and chemotherapy, some are initially refractory, whereas others gradually lose responsiveness. Therefore, alternative, selective, and novel immunosuppressive agents are used to treat these cases. Among these agents, rituximab has shown promise in some of the neuromuscular disorders with minimal side effects. Rituximab is a genetically engineered antibody that depletes CD20+ B-cells and is Food and Drug Administration- approved for treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, CD20+ CLL, and rheumatoid arthritis. It carries a favorable side effects profile. However, evidence of efficacy is limited to case series and large prospective randomized controlled trials are lacking. In this article, we review and discuss the available literature on rituximab in treatment of various autoimmune neuromuscular diseases.
Prednisone is used to treat many different inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, allergic disorders, gland (endocrine) disorders, and conditions that affect the skin, eyes, lungs, stomach, nervous system, or blood cells.
Intravenous immune globulin (“IVIG”) is a product made up of antibodies that can be given intravenously (through a vein). IVIG is given into a vein (“intravenously”), in an infusion that takes one hour or more. The amount of IVIG you need for each dose depends on your weight as well as the reason you are getting the IVIG:
Plasmapheresis/Apheresis is a process in which the fluid part of the blood, called plasma, is removed from blood cells by a device known as a cell separator. The separator works either by passing the blood at high speed to separate the cells from the fluid or by passing the blood through a membrane with pores so small that only the fluid part of the blood can pass through.
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Rituximab is a genetically engineered antibody that depletes CD20+ B-cells and is Food and Drug Administration- approved for treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, CD20+ CLL, and rheumatoid arthritis. It carries a favorable side effects profile.