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Multi-agent immunomodulatory therapies for autoimmune autonomic disorder


Senior Member
Background Autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy is a disorder defined by antibodies to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor of the autonomic ganglia. Patients present with symptoms of autonomic failure, including syncope, orthostatic hypotension, bowel and bladder hypomotility, pupillary dysfunction, and dry mouth and eyes. Symptomatic and immunomodulatory therapy has provided limited clinical benefit in small uncontrolled studies.
Objective To investigate the effects of combined immunosuppressive therapy and plasmapheresis in autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy.
Patients Three patients with autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy who had a limited response to symptomatic therapy, such as midodrine, fludrocortisone, vasopressin, and erythropoietin. Additional treatment with plasmapheresis alone and intravenous immunoglobulin alone provided no additional clinical benefit. Patients underwent 6 months of treatment with prednisone and mycophenolate mofetil followed by 5 cycles of plasma exchange.
Results Immunosuppressive therapy (prednisone and mycophenolate mofetil) combined with plasmapheresis resulted in substantial improvements in bowel control, pupillary function, dry mouth, and dry eyes. ...
Conclusions In patients with autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy, combining immunosuppressive medications prednisone and mycophenolate mofetil with plasmapheresis provides substantial and sustained clinical improvement that was not seen using either treatment alone. Multi-agent immunomodulatory therapies may be necessary to satisfactorily treat this immune-mediated disorder.

full paper http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/archneurol.2007.60