Multifocal motor neuropathy: Current therapies and novel strategies

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Multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) is a purely motor mononeuritis multiplex characterized by the presence of conduction block on motor but not on sensory nerves and by the presence of high titers of anti-GM1 antibodies. Several data point to a pathogenetic role of the immune system in this neuropathy, although this has not yet been proved. Several uncontrolled studies and randomized controlled trials have demonstrated the efficacy of therapy with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) in MMN. However, this therapy has a short-lasting effect that needs to be maintained with periodic infusions. This can be partly overcome by the use of subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIg) at the same dose. The high cost and need for repeated infusions have led to the search for other immune therapies, the efficacy of which have not yet been confirmed in randomized trials. In addition, some therapies, including corticosteroids and plasma exchange, are not only ineffective but have been associated with clinical worsening. More recently, a number of novel therapies have been investigated in MMN, including interferon-β1a, the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab and the complement inhibitor eculizumab. Preliminary data from open-label uncontrolled studies show that some patients improve after these therapies; however, randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm efficacy. Until then, IVIg (and SCIg) remains the mainstay of treatment in MMN, and the use of other immune therapies should only be considered for patients not responding to, or becoming resistant to, IVIg.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-406
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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