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Walter, Maggie C.; Reilich, Peter; Thiele, Simone; Schessl, Joachim; Schreiber, Herbert; Reiners, Karlheinz; Kress, Wolfram; Mueller-Reible, Clemens; Vorgerd, Matthias; Urban, Peter; Schrank, Bertold; Deschauer, Marcus; Schlotter-Weigel, Beate; Kohnen, Ralf and Lochmueller, Hanns (2013): Treatment of dysferlinopathy with deflazacort: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. In: Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 8:26 [PDF, 3MB]

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Background: Dysferlinopathies are autosomal recessive disorders caused by mutations in the dysferlin (DYSF) gene encoding the dysferlin protein. DYSF mutations lead to a wide range of muscular phenotypes, with the most prominent being Miyoshi myopathy (MM) and limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B (LGMD2B). Methods: We assessed the one-year-natural course of dysferlinopathy, and the safety and efficacy of deflazacort treatment in a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trial. After one year of natural course without intervention, 25 patients with genetically defined dysferlinopathy were randomized to receive deflazacort and placebo for six months each (1 mg/kg/day in month one, 1 mg/kg every 2nd day during months two to six) in one of two treatment sequences. Results: During one year of natural course, muscle strength declined about 2\% as measured by CIDD (Clinical Investigation of Duchenne Dystrophy) score, and 76 Newton as measured by hand-held dynamometry. Deflazacort did not improve muscle strength. In contrast, there is a trend of worsening muscle strength under deflazacort treatment, which recovers after discontinuation of the study drug. During deflazacort treatment, patients showed a broad spectrum of steroid side effects. Conclusion: Deflazacort is not an effective therapy for dysferlinopathies, and off-label use is not warranted. This is an important finding, since steroid treatment should not be administered in patients with dysferlinopathy, who may be often misdiagnosed as polymyositis.

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