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IMPORTANCE: This observational study describes the efficacy and safety of rituximab in 5 patients with voltage-gated potassium channel (VGKC)-complex/leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1) antibody-associated encephalopathy. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets CD20 and is used to treat other neurologic and nonneurologic diseases. OBSERVATIONS: This case series reports sequential seizure frequencies, modified Rankin Scale scores, and VGKC-complex antibody titers in 5 adult patients (median age, 65 years; range, 48-73 years) treated with rituximab. Median time from symptom onset to rituximab initiation was 414 days (range, 312-851 days). One patient showed a rapid clinical improvement after treatment with rituximab alone and experienced a rituximab-responsive clinical relapse. Another showed possible improvement on neuropsychometric memory indexes after rituximab therapy. In contrast, all patients showed robust responses to treatment with glucocorticoids, intravenous immunoglobulins, and/or plasma exchange at some point in their illness. Treatment with glucocorticoids-less so with intravenous immunoglobulins and plasma exchange-was associated with the most marked reductions in VGKC-complex antibodies. The only patient who did not receive glucocorticoids showed the poorest clinical and serologic responses. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Rituximab was well tolerated in this predominantly older adult patient population and may be an effective option for some patients with LGI1 antibody-associated encephalopathy. Glucocorticoid therapy appears particularly efficacious. Earlier rituximab administration and randomized trials are required to formally assess efficacy.

Original publication

DOI

10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.463

Type

Journal article

Journal

JAMA Neurol

Publication Date

01/07/2014

Volume

71

Pages

896 - 900

Keywords

Aged, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived, Antigens, CD20, Autoantibodies, Brain Diseases, Female, Humans, Immunologic Factors, Male, Middle Aged, Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated, Proteins, Retrospective Studies, Rituximab, Severity of Illness Index, Treatment Outcome