Clinical evolution in neuromyelitis optica when comparing management with azathioprine and rituximab
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Neuromyelitis Optica
Rituximab (MeSH)



Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorders (NMOSD) is a group of inflammatory, autoimmune, and demyelinating disorders. Its hallmark behavior is characterized by recurrent episodes of optic neuritis and longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis, among other clinical manifestations. Chronic therapy is based primarily in immunosuppressive therapies such as azathioprine (AZA), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), or rituximab (RTX). The goal of this study is to perform a comparative analysis of response rates to chronic treatment with either AZA or RTX.


A retrospective observational analytic study was designed with an initial cohort of 69 patients with a diagnosis of NMOSD. After application of the inclusion and exclusion criteria a total of 59 patients were finally included in the analysis.


The RTX group had an improved functional status when compared to the AZA group; in the latter this feature worsened after a one-year follow-up. There was also a comparable safety profile between the two groups with a significantly greater adherence to RTX regimes.


The findings of the current study as to the benefits of RTX in comparison to AZA are similar to the results of previous studies.


These results favor the use of RTX as maintenance treatment of NMOSD, because of its greater benefit mainly in the improvement in functional status of patients, as well as a greater adherence to treatment.
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