Failure of Natalizumab to Prevent Relapses in Neuromyelitis Optica

Neuromyelitis Optica Study Grp, Christoph Kleinschnitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

189 Citations (Web of Science)


To describe first experiences with the integrin inhibitor natalizumab, given to patients with suspected relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) who were later diagnosed with aquaporin 4-positive neuromyelitis optica (NMO).Retrospective case series.Neurology departments at tertiary referral centers in Germany.Patients with NMO who tested positive for antibodies to aquaporin 4.Treatment with natalizumab.Relapses and accumulation of disability.We identified 5 patients (4 female; median age, 45 years) who were initially diagnosed with MS and treated with natalizumab before diagnosis of NMO was established. Natalizumab was given as escalation therapy after failure of first- or second-line immunomodulatory therapies for MS. During natalizumab therapy (median duration, 8 infusions; range, 2-11 infusions), all 5 patients displayed persisting disease activity; a total of 9 relapses occurred (median duration to relapse, 120 days; range, 45-230 days) after the start of treatment. Four patients had an accumulation of disability and 1 patient died 2 months after cessation of natalizumab treatment.Our results suggest that natalizumab fails to control disease activity in patients with NMO. Neuromyelitis optica should be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients with suspected MS who are unresponsive to natalizumab therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-245
JournalArchives of Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Cite this