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Treatments of NMO


Disease modification

There is no cure for neuromyelitis optica (NMO) at this time, but there is a medication, Soliris (eculizumab), approved for the treatment of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) in adult patients who are anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibody positive. Soliris was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on June 27, 2019. Download the medication guide and prescribing information for more information.

Prior to the approval of Soliris, the following medications were used to supporess the immune system to reduce the likelihood of further attacks:

  • mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept)
  • rituximab (Rituxan)
  • azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan)

First attack treatment

The standard of care for an initial attack of NMO includes the following:
  • 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 and 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.
Read more about the benefits and risks of these medications.