Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Symposium 2

Directions for use of corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors against generalized myasthenia gravis: therapeutic strategies that can lead to early improvements and veer away from high-dose oral corticosteroids

Kimiaki Utsugisawa, M.D.1), Yuriko Nagane, M.D.1), Shigeaki Suzuki, M.D.2) and Norihiro Suzuki, M.D.2)

1)Department of Neurology, Hanamaki General Hospital
2)Department of Neurology, Keio University School of Medicine

The advent of effective immune treatment has meant that myasthenia gravis (MG) is most often not lethal. However, many MG patients still find it difficult to maintain daily activities due to chronic residual fatigability and long-term side effects of medication, since full remission without immune treatment is not common. Our analysis demonstrated that disease severity, dose of oral corticosteroids, and depressive state are the major independent factors negatively associated with self-reported QOL (MG-QOL15-J score). It is noteworthy that oral corticosteroid, the first-line agent for MG, is negatively associated with patients' QOL. When the analysis took into account MGFA postintervention status and dose of oral prednisolne (PSL), the MG-QOL15-J score of MM status patients taking ≤5 mg PSL per day is identically low (i.e., just as good QOL) as that seen in CSR and is a target of treatment. In order to veer away from high-dose oral corticosteroids and to achieve early MM or better status with PSL ≤5 mg/day, we advocate the early aggressive treatment strategy that can achieve early improvement by performing an aggressive therapy using combined treatment with plasmapheresis and high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone and then maintain an improved clinical status using low-dose oral corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors (cyclosporine microemulsion and tacrolimus). The early stages of MG are susceptible to treatment with calcineurin inhibitors. When using cyclosporine microemulsion for MG, blood concentrations 2 h after administration (C2) correlate with clinical improvement and immediately before administration (C0) with side effects (increased serum creatinine and/or hypertension). Monitoring of C2 and C0 levels is useful to estimate efficacy and safety of the drug.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (252K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 52: 1047|1050, 2012)
key words: corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, health-related quality of life, myasthenia gravis

(Received: 24-May-12)