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Hoffmann, Frank; Kraft, Andrea; Heigl, Franz; Mauch, Erich; Koehler, Jürgen; Harms, Lutz; Kuempfel, Tania; Koehler, Wolfgang; Ehrlich, Sven; Bayas, Antonios; Weinmann-Menke, Julia; Beuker, Carolin; Henn, Karl-Heinz; Ayzenberg, Ilya; Ellrichmann, Gisa; Hellwig, Kerstin; Klingel, Reinhard; Fassbender, Cordula Marie; Fritz, Harald; Slowinski, Torsten; Weihprecht, Horst; Brand, Marcus; Stiegler, Thomas; Galle, Jan; Schimrigk, Sebastian (2018): Tryptophan immunoadsorption during pregnancy and breastfeeding in patients with acute relapse of multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica. In: Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, Vol. 11
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Background: Up to every fourth woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) or neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) suffers a clinically relevant relapse during pregnancy. High doses of steroids bear some serious risks, especially within the first trimester of pregnancy. Immunoadsorption (IA) is an effective and more selective treatment option in disabling MS relapse than plasma exchange. Data on the use of IA during pregnancy and breastfeeding are scarce. Methods: In this retrospective multicenter study, we analyzed the safety and efficacy of IA treatment in acute relapses during pregnancy or breastfeeding. The primary outcome parameter - change of acute relapse-related disability after IA - was assessed using Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and visual acuity (VA) measurements for patients with optic neuritis (ON). Results: A total of 24 patients were analyzed, 23 with relapsing-remitting MS, and 1 with NMOSD. Twenty patients were treated with IA during pregnancy. Four patients received IA postnatally during the breastfeeding period. Treatment was started at a mean 22.5 [standard deviation (SD) 13.9] days after onset of relapse. Patients were treated with a series of 5.8 (mean, SD 0.7) IA treatments within 7-10 days. Sixteen patients received IA because of steroid-refractory relapse, eight were treated without preceding steroid pulse therapy. EDSS improved clinically relevant from 3.5 [median, interquartile range (IQR) 2] before IA to 2.5 (median, IQR 1.1) after IA, p < 0.001. In patients with ON, VA improved in four out of five patients. Altogether, in 83% of patients, a rapid and marked improvement of relapse-related symptoms was observed after IA with either a decrease of >= 1 EDSS grade or improvement in VA >= 20%. No clinically relevant side effect was reported in 138 IA treatments. Conclusions: Tryptophan-IA was found to be effective and well tolerated in MS/NMOSD relapses, both as an escalation option after insufficient response to steroid pulse therapy and as first-line relapse treatment during pregnancy and breastfeeding.