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NeuroQuantology ; 20(10):2908-2915, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2033475


Background: A severe antibody-mediated inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system is neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). Azathioprine (AZA) and Rituximab (RTX) were used to treat NMO-SD patients though not FDA approved yet. Aim of the study: To compare the effectiveness and safety of rituximab treatment versus azathioprine in treating individuals with NMOSDs. Methods: Seventy four Egyptian individuals with NMOSDs in this retrospective observational study and collecting their medical records from multiple sclerosis (MS) clinics, Neurology Departments, El-Maadi Military Hospital, and Cairo University hospitals. Fourty four patients received either treatment over two year duration, Group 1 (rituximab group) consisted of 19 patients, while group 2 (azathioprine group) consisted of 25 patients. Their full medical history, general and neurological examination, MRI brain and spinal cord results, and laboratory investigation were collected including immune assays and AQP-4 antibody. Results: There was no statistically significant difference between the groups in terms of brain MRI data at the baseline and outcomes. Between the two groups, there were statistically significant differences in last observer spinal MRI (p=0.025), annual relapse rate before treatment with RTX group (P=0.021), EDSS pretreatment (p=0.005), annual relapse rate post-treatment. When it came to the number of relapses after treatment, there was a high statistically significant difference between the two groups (p=0.016), with group 1 (RTX group) having zero relapses. There was a statistically significant decrease comparing EDDS scores pre-and post-treatment regarding the RTX group (p=0.003). Adverse events were Infusion rate reaction (5.3%) and pneumonic COVID (9.5%) of patients. Conclusion: RTX is more helpful and less harmful for NMO-SD patients than AZA.