Intravenous polyclonal human immunoglobulins in multiple sclerosis.Neurodegener Dis 2008; 5(1):8-15ND
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is an established therapy for demyelinating diseases of the peripheral nervous system. IVIG exerts a number of effects that may be beneficial in multiple sclerosis (MS). Four double-blind IVIG trials have been performed in relapsing-remitting MS. A meta-analysis of the four trials has shown that IVIG reduces the relapse rate and, possibly, disease progression. In patients with a first episode of demyelinating disease, IVIG delays the time to the second relapse and thereby to the diagnosis of definite MS. In patients with an acute MS relapse, IVIG as add-on therapy to methylprednisolone does not make remission of symptoms faster or more complete. IVIG does not seem to be of any benefit to chronic visual or motor symptoms in MS. In secondary progressive MS, IVIG has not shown any effect on disease progression, relapses or new magnetic resonance imaging lesions. Experimental studies in the MS model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in rats demonstrate that IVIG has to be administered at the time of induction of a relapse in order to be effective. In conclusion, IVIG can be considered as a second-line treatment to approved therapies for relapsing-remitting MS, but the ideal dosage of IVIG still needs to be determined. In order to be a first-line treatment for MS, the beneficial effect should be confirmed in a large-scale placebo-controlled survey, or in a study comparing the effect with approved therapies for relapsing-remitting MS using appropriate clinical and magnetic resonance imaging outcome measures.