Treatments for NMO
What are the treatments for NMO?
There is no cure for NMO at this time and no medications have been specifically approved to treat it. The standard of care for NMO includes the following:
Treatment for initial attack:
- Intravenous (into the vein) high-dose corticosteroids (methylprednisolone)
Plasma Exchange (PLEX) if no improvement occurs with corticosteroids;
- The goal of PLEX is to lower the level of NMO-IgG in the blood.
- PLEX involves removing blood from the body through a needle and tubing. Through a series of steps, the plasma (the liquid part of the blood) is separated from blood cells; the plasma is replaced with an artificial plasma substitute; the plasma substitute and blood cells are combined and returned to the body through an intravenous line. The procedure lasts several hours and may be repeated multiple times over a number of days.
Ongoing management of NMO:
- Because the likelihood of recurrence is greater than 90% and attacks are generally severe, ongoing treatment to suppress the immune system is considered necessary. The following medications are used for maintenance therapy:
- mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept)
- rituximab (Rituxan)
azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan)
- For more information about the benefits and risks of these medications, go to www.myelitis.org or http://www.guthyjacksonfoundation.org/nmo-faq/#treatnmo
- Treatment for initial attack: