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Thursday 01 May 2003

Rituximab in the treatment of polyneuropathy associated with anti-MAG antibodies.

By: Renaud S, Gregor M, Fuhr P, Lorenz D, Deuschl G, Gratwohl A, Steck AJ.

Muscle Nerve 2003 May;27(5):611-5

No causative or curative therapy exists for the polyneuropathy associated with antibodies to myelin-associated glycoprotein (anti-MAG). Rituximab is a mouse-human chimeric antibody that specifically eliminates B-cells and B-cell precursors. Preliminary results suggest a beneficial effect on antibody-dependent autoimmune diseases. Nine patients with an anti-MAG-associated IgM polyneuropathy received rituximab once weekly for 4 weeks. In all patients, the number of B-cells in the peripheral blood declined below levels of detection, and the IgM levels decreased between 35% and 82% (median, 58%). In eight patients, lowering of the anti-MAG antibody titers of more than 52% was observed. Clinical status improved in six patients, remained stable in two, and worsened in one. The motor nerve conduction velocity improved by at least 10% in one ulnar nerve in seven patients and worsened in two. Rituximab was well tolerated and is a promising new drug in the treatment of patients with anti-MAG-associated polyneuropathy.

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