Double-blind, randomized controlled trial of therapeutic plasma exchanges vs sham exchanges in moderate-to-severe relapses of multiple sclerosis
J Clin Apher. 2020
INTRODUCTION No randomized controlled clinical trial of therapeutic plasma exchanges (TPE) has yet been performed for moderate-to-severe relapses of multiple sclerosis (MS). OBJECTIVE To compare TPE to sham-TPE in patients with a recent steroid-resistant moderate-to-severe MS relapse. METHODS Patients presenting with an MS relapse of less than 2 months without improvement and 15 days after a course of steroids were randomized. Specific criteria were used for each relapse type to define moderate-to-severe disability. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with at least a moderate improvement based on objective and functional evaluation after 1 month. RESULTS Thirty-eight patients were randomized. The intention-to-treat analysis included 14 patients in the TPE group and 17 in the Sham-TPE group. The proportion of patients with at least moderate improvement at 1 month did not differ between the groups (P = .72), although 57.1% of the TPE group had full recovery compared with 17.6% of the sham group. Considering optic neuritis (ON), a significant difference in the proportion of different levels of improvement was observed in favor of the TPE group (P = .04). The combined Kurtzke's functional systems scores were significantly more improved in the TPE group than in the sham-TPE group at months 1 (P < .01), 3 (P < .05), and 6 (P < .05). No major side effects were observed. CONCLUSIONS A significant difference between TPE and Sham-TPE at the primary endpoint was only observed in patients with ON. Neurological function improved significantly more often in the TPE group than in the sham-TPE group.
A randomised clinical trial comparing interferon-alpha and intravenous immunoglobulin in polyneuropathy associated with monoclonal IgM. The IgM-associated Polyneuropathy Study Group
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. 1997;63((1):):28-34.
OBJECTIVES The polyneuropathy associated with a monoclonal IgM directed to the myelin associated glycoprotein (MAG) is a specific entity with a putative causal link between the IgM and the neuropathy. The small benefit offered by alkylating agents or plasma exchanges in these patients justifies the search for alternative treatments. METHODS A 12 month multicentre, prospective, randomised, open clinical trial was carried out comparing intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg; 2g/kg and then 1 g/kg every three weeks) and recombinant interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha; 3 MU/m2 subcutaneously three times weekly). The main end point was a clinical neuropathy disability score (CNDS) after six months of treatment. Twenty patients were enrolled; 10 were assigned to IVIg and 10 to IFN-alpha. RESULTS At six months, one out of 10 patients treated with IVIg had a CNDS improvement of more than 20% whereas eight out of 10 patients treated with IFN-alpha had such an improvement (P=0.005). The mean CNDS worsened by 2.3 (SD 7.6) (8%) in the IVIg group whereas it improved by 7.5 (SD 11.1) (31%) in the IFN-alpha group (P=0.02). This improvement persisted after 12 months and was mainly related to an improvement of the sensory component (P=0.02) whereas the motor component was unchanged (P=0.39). Electrophysiological data did not show improvement of motor nerve conduction velocities whereas sensory nerve conduction velocities improved in the upper limbs. A decrease in the level of the monoclonal IgM was seen in two patients treated with IFN-alpha. At the end of the treatment, antibody activity to MAG was still detected in the serum of all patients. CONCLUSION IVIg, as used in this study, did not improve patients with polyneuropathy and monoclonal IgM. By contrast, although its mechanism of action remains to be fully elucidated, IFN-alpha was effective in eight out of 10 patients at six months.